New Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE)

April 04, 2020
CBET 4740 & MPEC 2020-G05, issued on 2020, April 01, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~17) in infrared images obtained with the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (or NEOWISE; formerly the WISE earth-orbitingsatellite; cf. CBET 4225). The new comet has been designated C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object while it was still on the PCCP webpage.

Stacking of 14 unfiltered exposures, 60 seconds each, obtained remotely on 2020, March 31.5 from Q62 (iTelescope network) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + focal reducer, shows that this object is a comet with a diffuse coma about 1 arcmin in diameter and a tail 20" long in PA 115.

MPEC 2020-G05, assigns the following preliminary orbital elements to comet  C/2020 F3: T 2020 July 3.54; e= 0.99; Peri. =  37.60; q = 0.29;  Incl.= 128.95

There is a possibility that this comet will be visible in the field of the SOHO C3 instrument towards the end of June 2020 (although it may be too weak or very close to the limit magnitude of this instrument which is about +8). When the orbit will be more defined it will be possible to confirm or exclude this hypothesis. 

by Ernesto Guido & Adriano Valvasori