Comet C/2006 M4 (SWAN)


Copyright © 2006 by Michael Jäger and Gerald Rhemann (Austria)

Michael Jäger and Gerald Rhemann obtained this image of comet SWAN on 2006 September 30.13. This was obtained with a 25-cm Schmidt Camera, with an ASA Corrector and a Sigma 1603 CCD camera.

Discovery

R. D. Matson (Irvine, California, USA) and M. Mattiazzo (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia) independently reported a possible comet shortly before early July of 2006. The comet was found on images obtained using the SWAN camera aboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft during the period of June 20 to July 5.

 

Latest Information

"Comet Swan appears to have brightened," reports astrophotographer Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK. "On the evening of Oct. 24, I estimated it to be magnitude +4.6, a fairly easy naked eye comet!"  He took this picture through his 3-inch telescope.

The comet has a sinuous tail as long as three full Moons and a beautiful emerald-green coma. Green is a sign that the comet contains cyanogen (CN), a poison gas, and diatomic carbon (C2) - both glow green when exposed to sunlight.