Comet Leonard, the brightest of the year, is fading and acting strange


Oct 22, 2019
I note this in the report. "Comet Leonard is not brightening like scientists thought it would." That is correct. Here is my observation report from viewing comet Leonard this morning.

[Observed 0445-0545 EST/0945-1045 UT. Sunrise 0713 EST/1213 UT. First Quarter Moon 11-Dec-2021 0136 UT. I viewed comet Leonard again this morning using 10x50 binoculars and 90-mm refractor telescope using 14-mm eyepiece at 71x. This is my third comet observation of Leonard since 01-Dec-2021. The telescope eyepiece true FOV a bit more than 1-degree (60 arcminutes). The comet was a distinct fuzzy in 10x50 binoculars and in the telescope view, showed a large fuzzy coma with hint of tail at 71x. 9th-11th magnitude stars visible in the telescope view, Starry Night and Stellarium sky charts showed these. Two stars stood out about 48 arcminutes angular separation from the comet to the right or so of the comet, north up, mirror reverse view. In 10x50 binocular view, they were to the left or so of the comet. Tau4 Serpentis and HIP76438 easy to see 44 to 48 arcminutes angular separation from comet Leonard according to Stellarium 0.21.2 angle mode and Starry Night Pro Plus 8. Stellarium and Starry Night show both stars magnitudes 6.50 and 7.05/7.06. Stellarium and Starry Night indicated comet Leonard magnitude 4.72 but site reports 6.7. 6.7 apparent magnitude looks more accurate in my telescope view. This was an enjoyable comet observation early this morning with temperature -3C, winds WNW 4 knots and clear skies. After coming back inside, the wood burning stove felt good along with hot coffee ]
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I have to wonder if the reduced brightness is explained in part by its position relative to us and the Sun.

Here (2nd figure) is an illustration of its path and I assume it is now slightly between us and the Sun.


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