Many stargazers and astronomers anticipated the approach of Comet Atlas, which was thought to be the brightest comet visible with the naked eye of the decade. Sadly the comet disintegrated into a rain of debris, and the spectacular event did not occur. All is not lost thanks to citizen astronomers, whose efforts played an important role in the creation and release of the first crowd-generated images of a comet.
Astronomers spotted Atlas (also known under the scientific name of C/2019 Y4) during a survey that took place in December 2019. Initial observation inferred that it would be a very bright comet, but it started to disintegrate more than two weeks ago, and it is unlikely that it will shine again.
Citizen astronomers who are members of the Unistellar community have managed to capture high-quality images of the comet as It started to fragment. The images were recorded with the help of Unistellar eVscopes (Enhanced Vision Telescopes) placed in their backyards.
Comet Atlas is dying
More than 60 astronomers from Europe and the U.S. released images that were harnessed for the creation of a super composite image of the comet. This composite image includes subtle details, among which we can count the tail, coma, and a greenish gas that can be associated with the presence of cyanide gas.
A press release offered by Unistellar mentions that an accurate observation of the comet took place as extremely faint stars can be seen in the background. The emerging startup is known for the manufacturing and release of powerful computer-connected telescopes that can be used by amateur astronomers.
It is theorized that a fascinating spectacle could be provided by the Comet SWAN, not comet Atlas. SWAN was found on March 25 with the help of the SWAN camera mounted on the Solar Heliospheric Observer Spacecraft. The brightness of the comet SWAN is increasing at an accelerated pace, and it is estimated that it will pass by Earth on May 13.