C/2020 F8 (SWAN)

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C/2020 F8
C2020 F8 (SWAN) on 1 May from Indonesia.jpg
Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN) on May 1, 2020 from Indonesia
Discovered bySolar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO)
Discovery dateMarch 25, 2020[1]
Orbital characteristics A
(JD 2458956.5)
Observation arc18 days (short arc)
Perihelion0.430 AU (64.3 million km)
Earth MOID~0.195 AU (29.2 million km; 76 LD)
Next perihelionMay 27, 2020

C/2020 F8 (SWAN), or Comet SWAN, is a comet that was discovered in images taken by the Solar Wind Anisotropies (SWAN) camera on March 25, 2020, aboard the Solar Heliospheric Observer (SOHO) spacecraft.[2][1] In the glare of twilight, Comet SWAN is difficult to find with 50mm binoculars even though it is still near the theoretical range of naked eye visibility. The comet has dimmed since May 3.[3] This is not a comet that will be noticed by inexperienced observers.


It is 0.8 AU (120 million km; 310 LD) from Earth in the constellation of Perseus and less than 25 degrees from the Sun. It has an apparent magnitude of 6 and would almost be visible to the naked eye from a dark site,[3] but the glare of twilight, zodiacal light, atmospheric extinction and a nearly full moon will almost certainly overpower naked eye observations. It was originally best seen from the Southern Hemisphere. It was expected to possibly reach 3rd magnitude in May, but is now expected to hover closer to magnitude 6.[4] Either way it will be near the glare of twilight.[4] It passed through the celestial equator on 7 May headed northward and will be near the 2nd magnitude star Algol on 20 May.[1] In the Northern Hemisphere it might be best seen at the end of May when it is near the star Capella.

C2020 F8-skypath.png
Sky trajectory with 7 week markers


C/2020 F8 (SWAN)'s orbit

The Minor Planet Center initially listed the orbit as bound with .[2] With a short 18-day observation arc JPL lists the comet as hyperbolic with an eccentricity of 1.0009±0.001, but a longer observation arc is needed to refine the uncertainties and either confirm its hyperbolic trajectory, or determine its orbital period (likely to be thousands or millions of years if it exists).[5]

On May 12, 2020, the comet passed about 0.56 AU (84 million km; 220 LD) from Earth. On May 27, 2020 the comet will come to perihelion 0.43 AU (64 million km) from the Sun.[2]



  1. ^ a b c "Comet Y4 ATLAS Breaks Up...Enter Comet F8 SWAN". Universe Today. April 15, 2020. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "MPEC 2020-G94 : COMET C/2020 F8 (SWAN)". minorplanetcenter.net. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Ghosh, Trinankur. "Comet Observation database (COBS)". Retrieved April 28, 2020. "C/2020 F8 (SWAN) plot"
  4. ^ a b Seiichi Yoshida (April 13, 2020). "C/2020 F8 ( SWAN )". Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  5. ^ "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: C/2020 F8 (SWAN)". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  6. ^ Diego Toscan. "Comet C/2020 F8 SWAN 2 May 2020". Retrieved May 4, 2020.

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