Welcome to Astrosite Groningen.
On these pages you mainly find information, and a presentation of results,
on a number of astronomical subjects that we find most interesting.
Our main interests are comets and variable stars; therefore, emphasis will
be on the various aspects of observing these objects (charts, observations,
photographs). But we also plan to cover other topics, albeit only as an
aside, such as eclipses, and atmospheric phenomena like aurora and
noctilucent clouds, mainly by presenting a selection of our photographic
results. We hope you enjoy this site. We always welcome comments,
and suggestions for improvement. And feel free to contribute:
observations, images, whatever you want to share...
Reinder J. Bouma Edwin van Dijk
Minor planet 9706 on August 17, 2002 in NEAT images.

Recent updates (over the last month)
Sep. 26, Observations of C/2017 K2, C/2020 K1, P/2022 P1, 22P, 73P and 327P.
Sep. 24, Observations of C/2017 K2, C/2020 K1, C/2020 V2, C/2022 E3, P/2022 P1, 22P, 73P and 117P.
Sep. 19, Observations of C/2017 K2, C/2020 K1, C/2022 E3, P/2022 P1 and 73P.
Sep.  9, New APASS file for September/October. New charts for C/2017 K2.
Sep.  5, Observations of C/2017 K2, C/2020 K1, C/2020 V2, C/2022 E3, P/2022 P1, 22P and A/2100.
Aug. 28, Observations of C/2017 K2, C/2020 K1, C/2020 V2 and C/2021 E3.

SQM-L sky brightness measurements at our observing sites. Click here.
Visually observable comets
CometMvTrendChartscovered by APASS file
C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS)8-9brighteningyesno
C/2019 L3 (ATLAS)12-13fadingnoyes
C/2020 K1 (PANSTARRS)13-14near maximumnoyes
C/2020 R7 (ATLAS)13-14fadingnoyes
C/2020 V2 (ZTF)12brighteningnoyes
C/2020 Y2 (ATLAS)14-15near maximumnoyes
C/2021 E3 (ZTF)12-13fadingnoyes
C/2022 E3 (ZTF)11-12brighteningnoyes
P/2022 P1 (NEOWISE)10-11brighteningnoyes
29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1-regular outburstsnoyes
73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 312-13fadingnoyes
81P/Wild 213-14brighteningnoyes
117P/Helin-Roman-Alu 114fadingnoyes
118P/Shoemaker-Levy 413-14brighteningnoyes
327P/Van Ness14-15near maximumnoyes
NEW! September 9, an updated file with comparison stars from APASS in the magnitude 10-15 range is available for the September/October moonless period.

Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) at perihelion

This comet, discovered a year ago as the first one of 2021 is passing perihelion today. Over the last couple of weeks it has developed into a very fine object in the evening sky, in particular for observers in the southern hemisphere. It is very active, producing modest brightness outburst every 4 days or so since the middle of december, and showing a spectacular tail in wide field images, unusual for a comet that never became brighter than about magnitude 3-4 in a dark sky. A good example is the image above which was taken less than 24 hours from perihelion by Michael Mattiazzo from SWAN Hill, NSW. Currently the comet is about magnitude 5 visually. It is expected to fade gradually over the coming weeks moving away from both the Earth and the Sun. [03-01-2022]

Bright comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE)!

This comet, discovered on March 27 by the NEOWISE satellite as a magnitude 17 object, brightened to 7th magnitude for southern hemisphere observers before disappearing in evening twilight en route to perihelion on July 3 at slightly under 0.30 AU from the Sun. In the meantime it had become evident that this was an 'old' object, and there was good hope that northern hemisphere observers would see a naked eye comet near about magnitude 3 deep in morning twilight shortly after perihelion. So it was a pleasant surprise that C/2020 F3 actually emerged as a first magnitude object sporting a bright dust tail that rapidly grew longer and longer over the last week as the comet could be seen higher above the horizon in a darker sky.

The (binned) image to the right was obtained on the early morning of July 12 by Martin Mobberley from Cockfield, Suffolk, UK and is a fair representation of what visual observers were able to see around the same time.
A full version of this image including observing details can be viewed by clicking here.

Over the coming weeks comet NEOWISE, now placed in the evening sky, will fade fairly rapidly after its closest approach to the Earth - the minimum distance was 0.692 AU around 23.0 July - moving south and becoming better placed for more southerly observers.

Click here for older news items.

update 26-09-2022