Newfound Comet ATLAS is getting really bright, really fast
For years, amateur astronomers have been waiting for a bright, naked-eye comet to pass by Earth — and finally, such an object may have arrived. The possible celestial showpiece is known as Comet ATLAS, or C/2019 Y4. When it was discovered on Dec. 28, 2019, it was quite faint, but since then, it has been brightening so rapidly that astronomers have high hopes for the spectacle it could put on. But given the tricky nature of comets, skywatchers are also being cautious not to get their hopes up, knowing that the comet may fizzle out.