Astronomers have just discovered a new comet: C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) or A3 for short. Astronomical models suggest that C/2023 A3 orbits the Sun once every 80,660 years.It is still more than 18 months from its closest approach to Earth and the Sun. Discovered independently by astronomers at Purple Mountain Observatory in China and the Asteroid Terrestrical-impact Last Alert System, ATLAS (situated in South Africa) , the comet is currently between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn.
This new comet appears to have a sizeable nucleus, making it brighter (bright enough to be discovered so far from the sun). It could shine as brightly as the brightest stars or even more. Some estimates are that it could get as bright as a magnitude -5 – which is about as bright as Venus. The Tsuchinshan-ATLAS comet will be visible in the morning sky in late September and early October 2024. There’s still a lot we don’t know about C/2023 A3, including its actual size and composition.