Bright new comet spotted zooming toward Sun could outshine stars next year

A newly discovered comet could appear as bright as a star in the night sky in the fall of 2024.

The comet, known as C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS), was first observed on February 22 by the ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System) telescope project in South Africa Minor Planet Center (opens in new tab). Astronomers at the Purple Mountain Observatory in China also spotted the comet independently on Jan. 9, so both observatories are cited by the comet’s full name. Skywatchers around the world have since observed it in images new and old, with the earliest discovery being found in images taken by a wide-field camera on a telescope at the Palomar Observatory in California on December 12, 2022.

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