New Comet C/2020 F2 (ATLAS)

April 03, 2020
CBET 4739 & MPEC 2020-G04, issued on 2020, April 01, announce the discovery of a comet by R. Wainscoat on CCD images obtained on Mar. 22.6 UT with the Pan-STARRS1 1.8-m Ritchey-Chretien reflector at Haleakala, which he then noticed (via posting at the Minor Planet Center's NEOCP webpage) was apparently identical with an apparently asteroidal object (magnitude ~19) discovered on CCD images taken the previous night with a 0.5-m f/2 Schmidt reflector at Haleakala, Hawaii, in the course of the "Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System" (ATLAS) search program. The new comet has been designated C/2020 F2 (ATLAS).

I performed follow-up measurements of this object while it was still on the PCCP webpage. Stacking of 15 unfiltered exposures, 120-sec each, obtained remotely, from Telescope Live (El Sauce, Chile) on 2020, March 25.3, through 0.6-m f/6.5 astrograph + CCD, shows that this object appears slightly diffuse compared to the nearby field stars of similar brightness.

The following orbital elements by S. Nakano, Sumoto, Japan, are from 119 observations spanning 2019 May 27-2020 Apr. 1 (mean residual 0".30); prediscovery images were found by R. Weryk (F51); the corresponding original and future values of 1/a are +0.000016 and -0.000016 AU**-1, respectively.  The comet passed 2.89 AU from Saturn on 2018 Mar. 12 UT.

Epoch = 2022 June 30.0 TT
T = 2022 July 15.84933 TT        Peri. =  48.37394
e = 1.0054516                            Node  = 250.27242 2000.0
q = 8.8153702 AU                      Incl. = 163.58534

by Ernesto Guido