Comet C/2023 A3 (Tsushinshan-ATLAS)

Credits: Image by Keith Turnecliff, Long Itchington

Facts about Comet C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) by Keith Turnecliff

Comet C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) was discovered by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) on 22 February 2023 and it was also independently observed few weeks before in January 2023 at the Tsuchinshan Chinese Observatory (Purple Mountain Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences). The official designation includes both Tsuchinshan and ATLAS due to these independent observations. Its retrograde orbit, meaning it moves in the opposite direction to most major solar system objects, is parabolic-like with a perihelion distance of 0.39 astronomical units (AU). Comet C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) is notable and actively observed because, based on current estimations, it is could become bright enough to be visible to the naked eye during its perihelion passage between September and October 2024.