National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

New Comet Discovered by Japanese Amateur Astronomer

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Discovery image taken by Masayuki Iwamoto on 5h 39m JST, Jan. 9, 2020. (Credit: Masayuki Iwamoto )

A Japanese amateur astronomer has discovered a new comet.

Masayuki Iwamoto of Tokushima Prefecture discovered a new celestial object low in the eastern sky in the dawn on January 9, 2020 (JST) and communicated it to the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan’s window for reports of new astronomical objects. On January 13 (UTC), this object was independently discovered by Gennady Borisov in Crimea. Through analysis of confirmation observations by other observers, this object was determined to be a comet.

The orbit, designation, and name of the new comet will be announced later.

This is Iwamoto’s fourth discovered comet; the others were discovered in rapid succession in November and December of 2018. Japanese amateur astronomers are making great contributions to Astronomy.

(Update: January 17, 2020)

The new comet has been given the official designation and name “C/2020 A2 (Iwamoto),” making it “Comet Iwamoto.” The comet’s parabolic orbit has been calculated. Based on those calculations, it is predicted that the comet will move from the east to the north-east in the dawn sky, and will be observable at approximately 14 magnitude throughout February, 2020.

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