Comet ATLAS began to fall apart on approaching the Sun

The nucleus of the comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS), which could become visible to the naked eye in mid-may and claimed the title of brightest for the last seven years, began to disintegrate. This, according to astronomers say the images obtained by ground-based telescopes, it is reported portal The Astronomer”s Telegram.

Comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) was opened on December 28, 2019 with an automated system to find dangerous for the Earth celestial bodies ATLAS and classified as long-period comet, with a period of 5476 years. The aphelion of its orbit is at a distance of 621 astronomical units from the Sun, in the region between the scattered disk and the cloud hill, and the perihelion passage, the comet may 31, 2020, 0.25 astronomical units from the Sun, and will be inside mercury’s orbit.

With the Earth the comet gets closer to the maximum may 23, 2020. In February and March brightness C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) continued to grow, predicted that the comet might become visible to the naked eye in mid-may and to be the brightest over the past seven years. However, by 3 April, many Amateur astronomers recorded a drop in brightness of the comet. April 5, astronomers using the 0.6-meter telescope NEXT (Ningbo Education Xinjiang Telescope) found that the pseudo-nucleus of the comet has an elongated shape, aligned along the axis of the tail, and morphology consistent with the process of reduction or cessation of dust formation. This is confirmed by the data of observations made by other astronomers.

It is assumed that it speaks of the destruction of the comet’s nucleus and the separation from his larger fragments, such a scenario may explain the strong influence of non-gravitational forces on the motion of the comet, which was seen earlier. It is suggested that further decay of the nucleus will lead to an even stronger decrease in its brightness, that would deprive the comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) opportunity to become the comet of the year.

Earlier we talked about how the space telescope “Hubble” confirmed the beginning of the destruction of the nucleus of the interstellar comet Borisov after a rendezvous with the Sun.

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