It’s comet hunting time again! Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to witness a comet from the depths of the solar system. With some planning and preparation, you may be able to catch a glimpse of your target comet C/2022 L2 and add this celestial spectacle to your list of astronomical achievements.

When to look: You can see comet C/2022 L202 (ATLAS) all night on April 5 until it’s lost to the morning sunrise the next day. Find out more here.

Where: In the constellation of Centaurus.

The orbit of comet C/2022 L202 (ATLAS) brings it closest to the sun on 17th March, before sending it sailing comparatively close to Earth on 5th April 2024. This pass offers a rare opportunity for viewers in the Southern Hemisphere to witness this celestial visitor, including stargazers in Western Australia. The comet is predicted to reach peak brightness during April 2024

Some tools to help you locate Comet C/2021 S3/PanSTARRS include the SkySafari app.

Use the search function on SkySafari AR to search for ‘C/2022 L202 (ATLAS)’. Press “centre” and the app will show you where the comet is from night to night. Use the stars around the Comet as a guide to try and find it.

Other great resources include TheSkyLive‘s real-time tracker. 

Something interesting: The comet C/2021 S3/PanSTARRS was discovered in June 2022 by the Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) search program. ATLAS is an asteroid impact early warning system designed to provide a warning time, depending on the size of the asteroid. ATLAS will see a small (~20 meter) asteroid several days out, and a 100 meter asteroid several weeks out. The asteroid whose impact created the Chicxulub crater is thought to have been between 10 and 15 kilometres wide.

See more of the night

There’s always something interesting happening in the night sky. Visit an astrotourism town in country WA and see for yourself.