Comet ATLAS may be the brightest in years: report

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Comet ATLAS, also known as C/2019 Y4, is growing brighter at a surprising rate as it hurtles toward the Sun.

Space.com reports that as of March 17, the newly discovered comet's magnitude, a measure of its brightness, was +8.5, 600 times brighter than forecasts. It may well become the brightest comet in years.

Comets are made of dust, frozen water, ammonia, methane and carbon dioxide. Citing Karl Battams of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Space Weather Archive reports ATLAS is shedding huge amounts of gas and it may yet disintegrate before reaching the Sun.

The comet ATLAS is named after the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System, a pair of observatories in Hawaii that first discovered the comet on Dec. 18, 2019.

Space Weather Archive reports ATLAS began heating up two months before reaching the Perihelion, or the nearest approach to the Sun.

Should it withstand the sun's heat, the comet will loop inside Mercury's orbit and become visible to the naked eye on Earth in April.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Comet ATLAS may become the brightest comet in years
2. The comet could disintegrate before it reaches the Sun
3. ATLAS is discovered by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System in Hawaii
4. The predicted trajectory of comet ATLAS

VOICEOVER (in English):
"Comet ATLAS, also known as C/2019 Y4, is growing brighter at a surprising rate as it hurtles toward the Sun. Space.com reports that as of March 17, the newly discovered comet's magnitude, a measure of its brightness, was +8.5, 600 times brighter than forecasts. It may well become the brightest comet in years."

"Comets are made of dust, frozen water, ammonia, methane and carbon dioxide. Citing Karl Battams of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Space Weather Archive reports ATLAS is shedding huge amounts of gas and it may yet disintegrate before reaching the Sun."

"The comet ATLAS is named after the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System, a pair of observatories in Hawaii that first discovered the comet on Dec. 18, 2019."

"Space Weather Archive reports ATLAS began heating up two months before reaching the Perihelion, or the nearest approach to the Sun. Should it withstand the sun's heat, the comet will loop inside Mercury's orbit and become visible to the naked eye on Earth in April."

SOURCES: Space.com, NASA, Space Weather Archive,
https://www.space.com/comet-atlas-may-be-brightenting.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=dlvr.it
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/spitzer/news/spitzer20130723.html
https://spaceweatherarchive.com/2020/03/16/comet-atlas-is-brightening-faster-than-expected/