Discoverers & Comet discoveries by amateurs
1990 - 2015
Last update: 10. April - 2016
This page was initially created by Juan José González - José Fernández, written in Spain and can be found at http://www.perihelio.org/descubri.htm
I also used information from the website of Maik Meyer.
Giuseppe Pappa (email@example.com) added information to the early discoverystories.
I used an automatic translation into English and tried to correct it into readable English. Please notice that English is not my native language.
Fell free sending me corrections of any kind.
The automated professional programs LINEAR, NEAT (discontinued), CSS, LONEOS (discontinued), Spacewatch (North Hemisphere) and Siding Spring (South Hemisphere, discontinued), are responsible for the the majority of comet findings in recent years, besides the carried out ones found on the images of the SOHO spacecraft.
But there are still opportunities for amateur astronomers to find comets, searching visual or with the help of digital cameras (CCD or DSLR).
Comets discovered by Don Machholz:1978l
In 1990, with a total of 10 discoveries, 3 were discovered by amateurs:
In 1991, with a total of 22 discoveries, 6 were discovered by amateurs:
In 1992, with
a total of 13
were discovered by amateurs:
In 1993, with a total of 10 discoveries, 1 were discovered by amateurs:
In 1994, with a total of 11 discoveries, 6 were discovered by amateurs:
In 1995, with a total of 6 discoveries, 4 were discovered by amateurs:
In 1996, with a total of 44 discoveries, 4 were discovered by amateurs:
Of 193 discovered comets in 2003, only one was made by an amateur astronomer, Vello Tabur: C/2003 T3.
In 2004, with a total of 222 discoveries, 3 were discovered by amateurs:
Unfortunately, 2004 was also the year of the death of Fred Whipple, a great researcher in cometary science, and discoverer of 6 comets.
In 2005, with a total of 221 discoveries, 2 were discovered by amateurs:
In 2006, with a total of 204 discoveries, 2 were discovered by amateurs:
2009 has been the year of the death of two outstanding members of the cometary community, Eleanor Helin, great pioneer of the PCAS and NEAT programs, and Charles Juels, prolific asteroid discoverer. Also, it is sad to notify the loss of comet discoverer Mauro Vittorio Zanotta, in an unfortunate alpine accident.
total of 157 discoveries,
comets were found by amateurs:
Edgar Wilson Award
Award 2003/2004: V. Tabur, W. Bradfield (IAUC 8372).
Award 2004/2005: R. Tucker, D. Machholz (IAUC 8554).
Award 2005/2006: C. Juels and P. Holvorcem, J. Broughton (IAUC 8730).
Award 2006/2007: J. Broughton, D. Levy, T. Lovejoy (IAUC 8854).
Award 2007/2008: T. Chen and X. Gao (IAUC 8962).
Award 2008/2009: R. Holmes, S. Maticic, M. Ory, K. Itagaki, D. Yi (IAUC 9066).
Fred Whipple (1906 - 2004)
(Image: Harvard-Smithsonian for Center Astrophysics.)
Born in Network Oak (Iowa, the USA), he directed the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory between 1955 and 1973. He was an outstanding figure of Astronomy in the 20th. century, that mainly will be remembered by its dedication to the investigation on comets. The model of the “dirty snow ball proposed in 1950” (“dirty snowball”, or more correctly “icy conglomerate”) for the cometary nuclei.
He was the discoverer (or codiscoverer) of 6 comets between 1932 and 1942, among them 36P/Whipple, of period 8,5 years, and it's recent return happened in 2003.
A comet model. I. The acceleration of Comet Encke (Fred Whipple, 1950).
Kazimieras Cernis - Tsuruhiko Kiuchi - Yuji Nakamura C/1990 E1
IAUC 4980 announced a new comet discovery on March 14 by Kazimieras Cernis from Vilnius with his 0,12m reflector. Two day later independent discoveries where made visually by two Japanese amateurs, Tsuruhiko Kiuchi with a 25x150 binocular and Yuji Nakamura with a 20x120 binocular. The comet was also confirmed by Alan Hale(USA). At the moment of the discovery the comet appeared like a diffuse object of 9th mag and 2’ diameter. The comet reached a peak of 8 mag. during that apparition.
Kazimieras Cernis (b.1958) the discovery of C/1990E1 was the 3rd. for him after the discoveries of C/1980 O1 and C/1983 O1.
David H. Levy C/1990 K1
Another comet discovery for David H. Levy was announced on IAUC 5017 on 1990 May 20 during his comet hunting with his 0,41m f/5 reflector. Alan Hale (Las Cruces, USA) with his 0,4m reflector and Charles Morris (Pine Mountain Club, USA) with his 0,26m reflector confirmed the discovery the day after. At the moment of the discovery the comet was estimate of 9-10 mag, well condensed and a coma of 1-2’. The comet reached a peak of 4th. mag in late summer.
Copyright Wendee Levy
Tsuchiya-Kiuchi C/1990 N1
IAUC 5052 announced a new comet discovery on July 13, 1990N1, by Kiyoshi Tsuchiya (Asahikawa, Hokkaido) with a f/4 camera + T-Max film and Tsuruhiko Kiuchi (Usuda, Nagano) with a 25x150 binoculars. The comet appeared of 8/9 mag at the moment of the discovery.
Coypright Gerald Rhemann 23-10-1990
is a comet-researcher from Usuda-machi, Minamisaku-gun, Nagano
Prefecture. This discovery is the 2nd.
for him here an interview of his typical day, an intensive day divide
by work and comet hunting:
"Look more closely from farther away. That is my way of thinking."
Kiuchi's daily regimen starts at 7 a.m. He has to be in his office at 7:30. He departs for his workshop between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. This workshop is like a child's secret club house, a sanctuary in which he can relax and enjoy the moment. Upon returning home, he bathes, finishes his evening meal, and then goes out to star-gaze. The normal routine for his observation runs from an hour and a half after sunset until an hour and a half before sunrise. He only takes breaks or is unable to make his observations during inclement weather, on days when he has to give lectures, and during the five-day cycle of the full moon. Aside from these restrictions, he performs his observations every day.
Howard Brewington 97P/Metcalf-Brewington
On Jan 7 Howard Brewington (Cloudcroft, USA) discovered is second comet, 1991A1, during his session of comet hunting with his 0,41m reflector (IAUC 5155). The comet was rapidly confirmed by Alan Hale with a 0,20m reflector. As reported on IAUC 5159 the comet was independently discovered also by Tsuruhiko Kiuchi (Usuda, Japan) with his 25x150 binocular and William Bradfield(near Adelaide, Australia). All observer estimated the comet around 9 mag.
B. G. Marsden, Center for Astrophysics, notes that preliminary orbital elements from the above observations strongly resemble those of P/Metcalf (1906 VI). Consequently the comet was numbered 97P/Metcalf-Brewington.
Brewington with his personal observatory near Cloudcroft, New Mexico
He was born in 1952 in South Carolina. For years he visually sweeping the night sky with his home-built reflecting telescopes, his first comet was C/1989W1 discovered from South Carolina. To improve his chances of additional finds, he moved to southern New Mexico in the fall of 1990 and built a comet hunting observatory on a mountain ridge east of Cloudcroft. From 1991 to 1996, the relocation issued four more visual discoveries (97P,C/1991Y1,154P, 1996N1). Brewington prophesied the end of visual comet discoveries and wrote about it in the Summer 1995 issue of CCD Astronomy magazine in an article titled "The Future of Comet Hunting”. Brewington stopped comet hunting in 1999, moved back to South Carolina, and enrolled at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. He graduated with honors in the summer of 2002 and was hired by year's end as a 2.5-meter telescope operator through the Astronomy Department of New Mexico State University. From 2002 to 2015, he worked at the Apache Point Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Brewington, now retired, lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He is a member of the Astronomical Society of Las Cruces and often attends national star parties.
Masaru Arai C/1991 A2
IAUC 5157 announced a new comet discovery, C/1991A2, by Masaru Arai (Yorii, Japan) on Jan 5. From an image taken with a 0.16m reflector. The comet appeared diffuse with central condensation with a total magnitude around 12. The comet was confirmed by R. McNaught (Siding Spring, Australia).
(b.1952) is a prolific discoverer of asteroids with a total of 45
discoveries in collaboration with Hiroshi Mori.
IAUC 5291 announced another comet discovery for David H. Levy (Tucson, USA) on June 14th with his 0,41m f/5 reflector. The comet showed a 3’ coma and a 8th. magnitude. This object turned to be a periodic comet and will return around 2042. As suggested by Levy on his book, the comet is parent of the August pavonid meteor shower. According to Levy there is a possibility that it may be the same as the comet of 1499. In that year Chinese and Korean observers observed a comet pas from Hercules through Draco, and the Little an Big Dippers.
William Bradfield (Australia) discovered his 15th comet on January 31.74 as reported on IAUC 5442. The comet was found in the morning sky, on the borders of Scorpius, Lupus and Norma as it was brightening on its way to perihelion. Of 10 magnitude, it was diffuse and without condensation. Paul Camilleri of Cobram, Victoria, Australia found images of it on pre-discovery Kodak T-Max 400 plates taken with an 85 mm lens on Jan 30.7. Albert Jones observed the comet on 1992 February 13.7, making it 10.1 in his 0.32-m reflector. Cometary activity evidently decreased rapidly as the comet approached perihelion as it should have been around 7m at this time. Poor observations were made for this comet.
Don Machholz (Colfax, USA) reported the discovery of a probable 10 mag. comet to the CBAT on March 31st and the estimated daily motion indicated a possible identity with another object reported to the bureau on March 27th. This object had been discovered by Zenichi Tanaka (Yodoe, Japan) on March 24th, but an incorrect daily motion was given (IAUC 5487). The comet was also confirmed by Alan Hale on April 1st. At discovery it was moving north in the morning sky in Pegasus and passed through Andromeda in mid April on its way to perihelion on April 22nd.
Copyright H. Mikuz, 1992
William Bradfield discovered his 16th comet, a 10 magnitude diffuse object without central condensation on May 3.81 as reported on IAUC 5514. The comet was in the morning sky, moving east in Cetus, and brightening towards perihelion on May 25th. Its solar elongation decreased and few observations of it were made. Only 10 astrometric positions were obtained, the last taken on June 4th.
Donald Machholz discovered his sixth comet, a diffuse 9 mag. object with condensation, using 27x120 binoculars on July 2.46 as reported on IAUC 5553. The comet was in the morning sky, moving SE on the Perseus/Auriga border and had been brightening on its way towards perihelion. The comet was possibly within discovery range for most of the previous month. No section observations were received as the solar elongation was poor and it faded after discovery.
Howard J. Brewington P/1992 Q1
Howard J. Brewington reports the discovery of his fourth comet with his 0,41m reflector on August 28th. The comet appeared very small, diffuse and around 10 magnitude. Brewington had spent 99 hours comet hunting before finding this comet. As reported on IAUC 5596 the comet was confirmed by A. Sugie and T. Kojima from Japan. The first published orbit came on September 1st., when B. G. Marsden calculated a parabolic orbit using 11 positions from August 28 to 31. The perihelion date was given as 1992 June 20.97. Marsden considered the orbit "somewhat uncertain." Following S. Nakano's (Sumoto, Japan) remark "that the comet is evidently of short period", Marsden calculated an elliptical orbit that was published on September 27th. Using 18 positions obtained during the period of August 28th to September 26th., he determined the perihelion date as June 4.05 and the period as 8.65 years. Syuichi Nakano published a new orbit, he took 82 positions obtained during the period spanning 1992 August 28th. to 1993 March 30th and applied perturbations by planets and minor planets, the result was that the comet passed perihelion on 1992 June 7.79. Nakano then integrated the motion forward and predicted the comet would next arrive at perihelion on 2003 February 18.84. This comet was recovered by Fernanda Artigue, Herbert Cucurullo, and Gonzalo Tancredi (Molinos Astronomical Observatory, Montevideo, Uruguay) on 2002 August 26.98; so the comet was numbered as 154P/Brewington.
IAUC 5620 reported a new comet discovery on September 26th. by Tsuruhiko Kiuchi, with the suggestion that it might be P/Swift-Tuttle with perihelion time in mid-December. Kiuchi used a 25x150 binoculars and described the comet diffuse without condensation with a coma of 4'. Confirmation of the discovery by several observers in Canada, the U.S. and Japan leaves no doubt that this identification with the Perseid parent comet is correct. The identification in turn confirms the suggestion that Kegler's 1737 observations were indeed of P/Swift-Tuttle. Finally the comet was linked with 1737 II- 1862 III, so was recalled 109P/Swift-Tuttle.
Copyright Misunori Tsumura
Nobuo Oshita C/1992 W1
Nobuo Ohshita (Furukawa-machi, Japan) discovered an 11 mag. comet with 25x150B on November 24.85 and confirmed it with images taken with a telephoto lens on T-Max film on November 28.8 - 30.8 IAUC 5668 (Iauc 5668). The comet was moving NE in Virgo as it emerged from conjunction in the morning sky and faded after discovery. No visual observations of this comet were obtained.
Yoshio Kushida - Osamu Muramatsu P/1993 X1
IAUC 5903 announced a new comet discovery on December 8.7UT, 1993X1, by Yoshio Kushida and Osamu Muramatsu of Yatsugatake South Base Observatory, Japan, during a photographically session of comet hunter using a 0,25m reflector. At discovery the comet was moving east and was diffuse with a central condensation and a coma of about 1'-2' diameter and a magnitude of 16,5. Several Japanese astronomer (T. Kojima, T. Urata , A. Nakamura T. Kobayashi) confirmed the comet during the following days.
comet was recovered on 2000 October 3.72, when T. Oribe (Saji
Observatory) obtained CCD images with the 103-cm reflector, and sub
sequentially was numbered 147P/Kushida-Muramatsu.
(b.1957) is a seismologist and amateur astronomer. Is a prolific
asteroid discoverer with a total of 56 and also discovered two
periodic comets (144P,147P).
Osamu Muramatsu (b.1949). He worked at the planetarium of Sibuya, he is also an amateur astronomer. He discovered the periodic comet 147P and 71 asteroid, more of them with Y. Kushida.
Yoshio Kushida C/1994 A1
discovered his second comet on January 8.8UT with a 0.10-m f/4.0
patrol camera. The comet appeared with a strong central condensation
with coma diameter about 1'-2'. The comet was estimate about 12/13
magnitude and was confirmed by several Japanese astronomer including
T.Kojima, T. Urata and A. Nakamura. (IAUC 5918)
The comet's next perihelion date was 2001 June 27 and it was recovered by C. E. Delahodde and O. R. Hainaut (European Southern Observatory, La Silla) on 2000 July 25. After this the comet was numbered as 144P/Kushida.
Kesao Takamizawa - David H. Levy C/1994 G1
report their discoveries of what appears to be the same comet
observed between April 14-15. K. Takamizawa (Saku-cho, Japan).
Estimated of 12.5 magniutde on his two 4-min photographic films,
taken with a 0.10-m f/4.0 camera. The comet appeared diffu with
central condensation and coma diameter about 1'. David H. Levy
(Tucson, USA) observed the object visually with his 0,41m reflector.
Copyright Norbert Mrozek 1994 May 13
Kesao Takamizawa - C/1994 J2
Kesao Takamizawa discovered his 4th and last comet on 1994 May 6.7 UT with a 0.10-m f/4.0 patrol camera. The comet appeared of 11 magnitude with a strong central condensation and coma diameter about 1'. (IAUC 5986)
Coyright H. Mikuz, 1994
May. 27.883 UT
Masamitsu Nakamura - Hideo Nishimura - Donald E. Machholz - C/1994 N1
IAUC 6013 announced a new comet discovered by three amateur astronomers:
Masamitsu Nakamura (Hamamatsu, Shizuoka-Ken, Japan) and Hideo Nishimura (Kakegawa, Shizuoka-Ken, Japan) discovered the comet with a 25x150 binoculars independently on July 5.7UT. They estimated the object of 9 mag. and a coma of 2,5’(Nishimura) and 5’(Nakamura). Donald Machholz (Colfax, USA) discovered the comet on July 6.4UT with his 27x120, he estimated about 10.5 magnitude.
Donald E. Machholz - P/1994 P1
Donald E. Machholz discovered another comet visually with a 0.25m reflector on August 13th. He estimated about 10 mag. with little condensation and a coma diameter of 3’-4’(IAUC 6053). The comet was confirmed by T. Kojima. Michael Jäger (Vienna, Austria) reported his discovery of a second comet just 48 arc minutes from comet Machholz 2 on August 28.04. He said it appeared to have the same motion as Machholz and estimated the magnitude as 11. This comet continued being observed during the days that followed. Fourth and fifth objects were found by Pravec on September 4.1 and confirmed elsewhere. Letter designations were assigned to the 5 comets on September 21. The primary comet was the most westward and was designated "A". Working eastward, "B" was the fourth comet found, "C" was the third comet, "D" was the second comet, and "E" was the fifth comet. Interestingly, Pravec reported that CCD images obtained on October 5.14 indicated "D" exhibited two condensations within its coma. The comet return again on 1999 with only fragment “A” and later was recovered the fragment “D”, so it was numbered as 141P.
Donald E. Machholz - C/1994 T1
Donald E. Machholz reported his 3rd. visual discovery of a comet in 1994! (IAUC 6091) The comet was discovered on October 8.5 UT with his 0,25m f/3.8 reflector. He estimated as a diffuse object of 11.5 mag with weak condensation.
Copyright Marcus Richert, Uwe Wohlrab
Alan Hale - Thomas Bopp - C/1995 O1
Independent reports of the visual discoveries of a new comet have been received from Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp (IAUC 6187). All observers note the comet (estimated around 10/11 mag) to be diffuse with some condensation and no tail, motion toward the west- northwest. Alan Hale (Cloudcroft, USA) found the comet with his 0.41-m reflector while Thomas Bopp (near Stanfield, USA) discovered the comet with a 0.44-m f/4.5 Dobsonian during a star party while observing M70. The comet turned to be one of the brightest of the century and was visible for a very long time between 1995-1998. The comet reached perihelion on 1997 April 1st. and studies revealed a nuclear of 60km!
William A. Bradfield - C/1995 Q1
William A. Bradfield of Dernancourt (Australia) discovered his seventeenth comet, a 6 mag. object with a tail over 1° long, on August 17.4 IAUC 6206. The comet was in Crater, two weeks from perihelion, and was well placed for some time prior to discovery.
Yuji Hyakutake - C/1995 Y1
IAUC 6279 announced the discovery of a new comet by Yuji Hyakutake (Hayato, Aira-gun, Kagoshima-ken) on December 25, with a 25x150 binoculars. The comet appeared diffuse with coma diameter of 3'.5 and total mag of 10th. The comet was observed in twilight while further confirmations arrived by T. Kojima and Y. Kushida.
Information about discovery story were written by D.H Levy on Sky and Telescope, May 1998:
“…E. Szczepanski is a Lawyer, specializing in maritime law. He also a complished astrophotographer and telescope maker. One day in January 1996 he was perusing old astronomy magazines during his lunch break when an article I wrote on comet hunting caught his attention. As he red he wondered what it would be like to discoverer a comet. That evening Szczepanski drove out to the Houston Astronomical Societys observory site near Columbus for a solitary astrophotography session. He set up is 4-inch Takahashi refractor and, with Kodak Technical Pan 2415 film, began imaging deep-sky object. M101, the huge spiral galaxy north of Bug Dipper’s handle, was the last one on his list. When he developed his film the following day, he was surprised to see the trailed image of a 10th magnitude fuzzy object ½° south of M101. He immediately reported it to the IAU0s Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams…”
Yuji Hyakutake - C/1996 B2
Only one month later Y.Hyakutake discovered another and most popular C/1996 B2. The comet was announced on IAUC 6299. The comet was discovered on 30.8 January 1996 with his 25x150 Binoculars. The comet appeared diffuse and of 2.5’ diameter and 11th mag. In the next months the comet became a “great comet” approaching Earth on March 25th with a total magnitude of 0th and a tail of 80°!!
Copyright: Michael Jager, Erich Kolmhofer, Herbert Raab. 25-03-1996
Howard J. Brewington - C/1996 N1
IAUC 6428 announced a new comet discovered, by amateur Howard J. Brewington from Cloudcroft(USA). The comet was discovered on July 4th visually with a 20cm reflector and was later confirmed by G.Garradd.
Copyright David Hanon
Vello Tabur - C/1996 Q1
IAUC 6455 announced the discovery of a new comet,C/1996Q1, on August 19 by Vello Tabur (Wanniassa,AUS). The comet was discovered with 20cm reflector and appeared of 11th magnitude and 3’ diameter.
Copyright Stefan Beck
Justin Tilbrook from Clare, South
Australia, reported a visual discovery of a comet on July 22.43UT with
a 20cm reflector. Justin is a variable star observer and he
discovered the comet while was observing TV Corvi when he saw a 10th
mag “blob” of 70” in diameter. Several minutes later he saw
that the object had moved. One day later Gordon Garradd (from
Loomberah) confirmed the comet using a 25cm reflector+ CCD, the
images showed a little fuzzy of 2’ without tail. IAU Circular 6705
announced the discovery on July 23 while a preliminary orbit
announced in IAUC 6707 showed the comet was close to perihelion at
about 1.4AU from the Sun and a similar distance from the Earth. If
the comet had been 3 months earlier, it would have been visible in
7x50 binoculars from the Earth. Copyright
Picture of C/1997O1 taken by Justin, using a 35mm camera with a 200mm zoom lens and 400ASA Fujicolor print film; on the evening of 1997 July 26 (10:45 UT). The camera was hand-guided for an exposure lasting 10 minutes, to capture this faint image of Comet Tilbrook.
Comet Tilbrook image taken by Akimasa Nakamura on 1997 July 24.47UT with a 60cm Reflector f6.
Most people like to complain about the weather and, well, I guess I'm just like the rest. August is usually associated with strong winds but this year they were accompanied by driving rains which produced flooding in many areas of eastern New South Wales.
My backyard observatory at Heathcote, on the southern extremity of suburban Sydney, was partially flooded with 3cm of water when a nearby drain became blocked by garden debris. Nearly 170mm of rain was recorded at Heathcote during the first 9 days of August and I was beginning to suffer the 'DTs' from a lack of starlight.
Perhaps better known for the observation of variable stars, I have been fortunate enough to also observe a number of comets over the years beginning with Comet Bennett, the Great Comet of 1970, and sending the occasional total magnitude estimate to David Seargent of the Australian Comet Section during this time.
Monday, August 10 was the first clear night of the month so, although feeling tired after arriving home from work a little later than usual, I ventured outdoors after dinner with binoculars in hand to catch up on some of the brighter variable stars on my regular working list.
A normal night's observing at Heathcote involves preparation under subdued lighting, a naked eye nova search along the Milky Way followed by a search to near magnitude 8 in two selected areas with the 10x50mm binoculars. This is followed by the binocular variables before moving onto the telescopic stars. Each observing session can last between 30 minutes and several hours.
With the moon just two days after full there was a very narrow 'dark window' before moon rise. I had used this time for the binocular variables. After this I returned indoors to help with some domestic duties and getting the children off to bed. Domestic duties complete, I sat down with my wife, Linda, and feeling rather tired thought I may retire early for the night.
However, having been clouded out for near two weeks I felt obliged to show the 'right stuff' and check on the telescopic variables. In hindsight, this proved a wise decision.
By 9.30pm local time and with the near full moon well above the horizon, the roll-off roof of my observatory parted as I prepared for observation with the 30cm F6 Newtonian reflector.
Working through my usual sequence of variable star fields, I commenced low in the south west with SY Mus and DI Cru, followed by 8 other irregular and unusual stars in the Cru-Mus-Cen region.
Then sweeping eastward at a low 72x magnification from Alpha Cir towards the faint dwarf nova EK TrA, I almost fell of the three step ladder used to reach the eyepiece as a bright comet-like object came into view.
'Oh gosh, what have we here?' or words to that effect I muttered, knowing only too well there should be no fuzzy blobs in that area of sky.
A full millisecond or two later I forgot completely about EK TrA as complete panic set in. Was it clear in New Zealand? Was it clear in Victoria? As I shuffled through my charts to find that for EK TrA, I pondered who else may be observing this field that evening. Having located the chart I proceeded to plot the object's position then wait and look for movement.
At the time of discovery the comet appeared large, round and diffuse with no tail and a 13th magnitude stellar central brightening. Through the 20x80mm binoculars it was estimated at magnitude 9.5 but of somewhat smaller diameter than through the telescope at only 4 arcmin across.
Within half an hour clear movement towards the north west was evident so I moved indoors at near relativistic speed to seek independent confirmation. After several frustratingly unanswered phone calls, I eventually raised David Seargent of the Australian Comet Section who was able to provide verification.
At this stage even Linda, who is generally content to view the moon once every second year, left the warmth and comfort of bed to become only the third person on Earth to view the comet.
David kindly emailed the co-ordinates and magnitude estimates to the International Astronomical Union's Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, USA. The CBAT replied the next day with a request for more information and additional positions to allow for establishing a preliminary ephemeris.
I had never realised how long the daylight hours are as I waited for nightfall!
Tuesday night was essentially cloudy at Heathcote except for several fortunate clear patches which allowed me to relocate the comet and establish an additional position. This was duly emailed to the CBAT.
Unknown to me, Gordon Garradd of Loomberah, near Tamworth, had learnt of the comet through David Seargent and was busy measuring the comet's position on CCD images obtained that night, providing the accurate details needed by the CBAT.
IAUC 6986 was issued on Wednesday 12th August 1998 announcing the discovery of Comet 1998 P1, much to the relief of all concerned.
Many emails and telephone calls from well wishers have since been received, topping off several days of intense excitement. My two minutes of fame have certainly been an experience I will long remember. The help, encouragement and co-operation of local identities such as David Seargent, Gordon Garradd and Rob McNaught played an important part in verifying this comet.
Looking back, however, this discovery was contributed to by a number of fortunate circumstances.
Firstly, the sky was clear and calm that evening after more than a week of strong winds and driving rain. Secondly, despite a near full moon the decision was made to observe through the telescope. Thirdly, had I delayed going outdoors a little longer I may not have observed the field of EK TrA. Finally, had I not been monitoring a non-program suspected variable a little to north of EK TrA, I may not have swept northward to low magnification and onto the comet.
Luck may have played its part. However, I like to believe - tongue in cheek - that I have been conducting a systematic search for comets, in variable star fields, while looking in the wrong direction and under full moon. Clearly, my methods have been vindicated!
IAUC 7222 announced the visual discovery of a new comet C/1999 N2 on July 13th. by Daniel W. Lynn, Kinglake West, Victoria, Australia with 10x50 binoculars and 0.20-m f/6 reflector (40x, 150x). Comet low in sky, moving northeastward at about 10'/hr. Coma diameter 4'.2, fairly strong central brightening, but no discernible nuclear condensation and no tail.
Korado Korlevic - P/1999 WJ7
IAUC 7368 announced the discovery of a new comet P/1999 WJ7. An apparently asteroidal object discovered on Nov. 28th by Korado Korlevic at Visnjan with a 0.41-m f/4.3 reflector + CCD turned out to be a comet. It was discovered while doing routine asteroid search.
announced the visual discovery of a new comet C/2000 W1
on Nov. 18th. by Syogo Utsunomiya (Aso, Kumamoto; 25x150 binoculars)
moving very fast southeastward. Attempts by serveral visual observers
failed. On Nov. 25th. Albert F. Jones, Stoke, Nelson, New Zealand
(C/2000 W1)discovered a new comet. The calculated orbit showed that it
was the same object as reported by Syogo Utsonomiya. This comet is the
second discovery for both !
IAUC 7686 announced the visual discovery of a new comet C/2001 Q2 12 C1 on August 18th. by Vance Petriew during a star party at Cyprus Hills, Saskatchewan. The discoverer reported a round coma of diameter 3' with a condensed nucleus and no tail with a 0.51-m f/5 reflector.More details can be found on his discovery report or on his website.
IAUC 7812 announced the independent visual discovery of a new comet C/2002 C1 on Feb. 1st, by Kaoru Ikeya (Mori, Shuchi, Shizuoka, Japan; 0.25-m reflector and Daqing Zhang near Kaifeng, Henan province, China; 0.2-m reflector. The comet showed a coma with 2' and 9 mag. This comet got later the periodic number 153P because it is a long periodic comet that was seen in earlier days.
Ikeya, Right: Daqing Zhang
Copyright Douglas Snyder
On March 11th, a new comet C/2002 E2 was discovered independently by Douglas Snyder ans Shigeki Murakami. Both used large Newtonian reflectors and discovered the new comet visually at 13.0 (Snyder) and 11 mag. (Murakami). The discovery was announced with IAUC 7850.Discovery story from Doug Snyer:
morning hours of Monday, March 11, 2002, I was observing our beautiful
Arizona night sky in the constellation Aquila (The Eagle) rising in the
east. This is a constellation is which a good portion of the
Summer Milky Way is visible. It was not too long before
so I was just moving the telescope around and looking at some glorious
collections of stars when I came across a faint patch of light that
none of the current astronomy catalogs showed. I watched this
'object' for awhile, and over a period of about 1/2 hour, I noticed
that is was slowly moving to the north. This was possibly an
undiscovered comet! Well, to make a long story short, I was
contact with the International Astronomical Union before too long and
within the next day, they confirmed that this was a comet
discovery! I had found it none too soon, because just a few
later, an amateur astronomer in Japan (Shigeki Murakami) also found
it. The name has officially become Comet Snyder-Murakami
the orbital elements were calculated by astronomers at the IAU . The
comet also has the designation of C/2002 E2.
This is such a rare and rewarding event, and I am still so overwhelmed at my luck in finding it.
Discovery story from Shigeki Murakami:
of Shigeki Murakami
IAUC 7854 announced the visual discovery of a new comet, C/2002 F1 by Syogo Utsonomiya in morning twilight. The comet showed a weak condensation, 1' coma and was 10.0 mag. The discoverer used a 25 x 150 binocular. The discovery was made on March 18th.
Discovery story: As accidental
as it can
written in July 2002
was really amazing. I was systematically comet hunting for almost 5
years now but this discovery was as accidental as a comet can be found.
What to do when you can't sleep at night? Packing together your telescope and observing a bit. That's what I did Monday early morning. I drove to my favorite and well situated place in the Odenwald (altitude ~400m) where you have a terrible view to North and West but well skies to the East, South-East and South. The sky was very clear because clouds and rain have just passed by after a bad week with rain and flooded streets in Heidelberg. I was not prepared for any serious observations, I just wanted to have a look into the clear sky. After having mounted my MEADE 10'' Schmidt-Cassegrain-Telescope I started to initiate my goto-System. That works with correct geo-position, precise local time, flat alignment and one reference star. The alignment was not very well that night and the battery of the clock included in the keypad was off. Therefore I had to estimate time from Radio. After initiation I usually start to let the goto-System search for a known bright object – this time of year M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. The scope slewed to it and I looked into the 26mm eyepiece behind my focal reducer (giving me f/6.3, that means 64x or about 1 degree filed of view). Oops, the mounting was not very good, M31 was off the left edge. I didn't care because I wouldn't need correct slewing this night, I thought. This all took me around half an hour.
It was 02:00h local time (00:00h UT) when I started to look in the skies: The moon low in the West behind a small hill not disturbing the observations. I saw Andromeda and Pegasus high in the sky and remembered the good-old deep-sky days and decided to have a look at the Globular Clusters around. They are still the same as I have in mind. I started to slew the telescope a bit to the north – by the way: my telescope was mounted azimuthal - and something to the east. The scope stopped west of Sirrah, a bit north of the line between this star and beta Pergasi. I looked in the scope and saw a faint and diffuse object. There are some galaxies in this area I knew but as far as I remembered they are beyond 13 mag. I also knew no comet in this area although not looking specifically before going on the observation session – as I already mentioned, it was very spontaneous. I got a bit suspended. Should it be? A new comet? But not in this position. It was almost antisolar direction, the playground for NEAT and LINEAR. Anyhow I wanted to get the position what is not so easy when you do not have any sky maps or even a piece of paper. I took the RA and DEC from my goto-System, well knowing that these are not very good due to the poor mounting, especially in RA direction. In my car I found an empty bottle of water with a small paper label and a ball pen. This must be enough for a rough drawing of the brightest stars in my finder scope and the position of the comet.
I decided to waited 20 minutes without looking in the telescope to detect a possible motion. 20 minutes are long when you cannot do anything. I didn't want to move the scope because of the possibility to lose the object. The only thing I did was checking that the field of view shifts too much. After 20 minutes I saw the object had moved a bit. I took another eyepiece and removed the focal reducer to get a smaller FOV. How to describe a motion without having sykplots? As I am used to comet observations I decided to do the same like I sometimes estimate coma diameter: estimating the part of the FOV covered by the comets or here how what part it swept through. What I found was amazing: around 1' of motion in DEC direction and perhaps only a very small shift in RA. I repeated this estimation and thought the comet to be around 12mag with 2' coma diameter.
This should be enough data. I unmounted the telescope and packed it into my car. On my way home I had some silly doubts whether it was real, already known, etc. Al this made me very tired and I decided to have some sleep.
I woke up around 11a.m., had breakfast, did some necessary shopping and went back home to work on my last night's observation. First I determined the position of the object and put the data into the MPChecker. I thought the positions to be uncertain by 1 or perhaps 2 degree in RA and around 1 degree in DEC. Therefore I decided to set the MPChecking range to 5 degrees. Result: No known comet. Suddenly I felt adrenaline ejected by my body and my hands started to tremble. I had similar feelings when discovering my first SOHO comets but this time it was 100 times more intense. I checked for galaxies in the field but as I already knew they are too faint – and do not move at all! I redetermined the position and repeated the procedure. Finally I called my girlfriend and told her I think I have found something. She is not very used to astronomy yet but she was very surprised and urged me to send it to announce it. I hung in and wrote the email to the CBAT.
Dear CBAT Team,
I would like to report the following possible discovery of an unknown object found during my observations last night near Heidelberg, Germany:
Approximate Position: RA 23h 25' DEC 32° 40' at ~ 00:05:00 UT on Jul 22, 2002
Magnitude: ~ 12 mag
Object's appearance: cometary, about 2' coma diameter
The object showed a clear movement in DEC + direction (~1' in 20 minutes)
Obtained checks for known objects: optical reflexions, galaxies/nebulae down to 13 mag, MPChecker down to 15 mag, NEO Confirmation Page.
Telescope: 0.25-m Schmidt-Cassegrain, F=1760m, f/6.3 (focal reducer)
NOTE: The positions are probably not very good because I didn't have any material (skymaps, ...) with me. It was just a spontaneous observations session. I tried to figure the positions out of my goto-system with a poor draw of the sky around but the position might be off by 1 or perhaps even 2 degree.
I try to make a follow-up observation this night but I guess the clouds here will disturb this try.
It was around 5p.m. and I called Maik Meyer at work to tell him what I have observed. He was quite surprised and I should tell him whatever happens.
Now the longest day begun. I knew that it would take some time but I didn't receive any message till the next day - Tuesday. I then decided to ask what the CBAT did with my observation. I also wrote emails to Alan Hale and Akimasa Nakamura to request confirmation. Alan soon responded and said he will use the clear sky he expected for the upcoming night to have a look at it. The only problem would be the strong moonlight that day and the uncertain position. I extrapolated new positions for the next night and sent it to him. When the evening came I tried to find the comet again but moon, clouds and haze disturbed my try.
On Wednesday morning I wrote to Carl Hergenrother who was the responsible person at CBAT these days that I could make a follow-up observation. He told me that he requested different observers for follow-ups but no one had contacted him so far. Alan Hale then wrote that he also could not find anything but that needn't to be a final statement due to the bad conditions. Akimasa Nakamura contacted me and told me that he has bad weather but forwarded my request to Ken-ichi Kadota. He was not very optimistic because moon would disturb and CCD covers a very small field of view.
Thursday was another waiting day for answers from Japan. I felt like the object would probably be lost. However Carl Hergenrother said I should not give up hope. Maybe it will be found by someone else and I would keep my credit as first discoverer.
On Friday I was looking forward to an Inline competition that should last 3 days: Friday 10km, Saturday 42km and Sunday 19.5km. Friday morning Maik called and asked what has happened so far. I told him of the negative replies and he suggested to contact Michael Jäger in Austria. Michael is the wold's most famous comet photographer and discoverer of comet C/1998 U3 (Jäger). I met him at the IWCA II in Cambridge, England in 1999. Maik told me his email addresses and I sent the request to him with new positions extrapolated from a 5 day old position and an estimated movement – not very convincing I think. I packed my bag and drove to the competition where I stayed over night.
On Saturday I skated the Marathon in new personal best time. I forgot all the things around the comet and drove to my father's home to sleep there. We had just finished dinner when my mobile phone rang. It was Maik, very suspending. "Your object is on the NEO Confirmation Page!" Oh my god, I thought and dialed in. I saw the object called "UnkHon", Unknown Hoenig, yes, that's mine. Somebody must have found it. I told my father but I think he didn't realize at this moment what has happened. Maik called again and told me that he wrote a request for confirmation of the NEOCP object to the Minor Planet Mailing List and many observers told him to have a look atf it. Only minutes later he called suspended and I think somewhat shocked: "You have a confirmation!" He got the image which was taken on 611 (Heppenheim), only 20 minutes away from my hometown Dossenheim. Again I thought "Oh my god!". Maik told me what this means: the first visual comet discovery from German ground since 1946. I never thought this faint and diffuse object would have historic dimensions...
I tried to call Michael Jäger but his wife told me that he is already away and has forgotten his mobile phone. I told her that it would not be necessary to search for the comet as I have receiver confirmation. Half an hour later Michael called me, also very suspended and happy: "Sebastian, I have found your object on 5 images!" I informed him what was going on. He was so lucky and promised to send me one of his photographs. Later Carl Hergenrother wrote that Ken-ichi Kadato was the one who recovered the comet.
I had only around two hours sleep and was so tired on Sunday. I got up at 7a.m. and saw the IAUC announcing my comet discovery. After seeing this my father recognized what this means. He vanished for some minutes and came back with a large bottle of champagne and some glasses for my discovery celebrations.
Finally I decided not to drive back to the last competition day due to the lack of sleep and some kind of poor motivation. Can image why? :)
I want to send my special thanks to some people who supported me in a special way to do this discovery (NO specific order!):
Carl Hergenrother for his kind replies on all of my emails
Alan Hale for his quick response and his try to observe the comet
Akimasa Nakamura and especially Ken-ichi Kadota who managed to recover the comet
Maik Meyer for his help and fast information on the development
Michael Jäger for his quick and successful attempt to image the new comet
And finally to my parents and my Grandmother for their everlasting support throughout the last years.
Kudo-Fujikawa - C/2002 X5
- C/2003 T3
[Images: Vello Tabur , by Reinder Bouma (2003); C/2003 T3 near the galaxy NGC 6848, image CCD of V. Tabur, on October 18th. 2003, a few days after the discovery of the comet]
C/2003 T3 has been the third comet discovery by another Australian observer, Vello Tabur. The comet was found on CCD images taken on October 14th., at 11. magnitude. It reached maximum magnitude (approximately 9.5) in the days near the perihelion, April 28th, q= 1,48 AU of the Sun.
William Bradfield - C/2004 F4
[Images: William Bradfield, by Reinder Bouma (2003); C/2004 F4 in its perihelion on April 17th 2004, SOHO (THAT & NASA (2004)].
William Bradfield discovered C/2004 F4, his 18th comet visually, on 23rd of March 2004, shortly before perihelion (April 17th.), at 0,17 AU. The proximity to the Sun allowed to observe spectacular images of the passage thanks to coronograph LASCO - C3 on the SOHO satellite. For the ground observers, it later reappeared some days in the matutinal twilight, as an object of 3rd magnitude, very condensed and with a long almost vertical tail, offering an unforgettable view. This one has been the third visual observed comet in 2004, after C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) and C/2002 T7 (LINEAR). The very special of this discovery was the time, which was dominated by the LINEAR, NEAT and other survey's and gives an extra profit to Bradfield, a great Australian veteran discoverer of 76 years.
Comet Seeking (William Bradfield, in the page of the ASSA).
Roy Tucker - C/2004 Q1
Roy Tucker (Goodricke-Pigott Observatory, Tucson, USA) discovered his comet on CCD images taken on August 23rd. with a reflecting telescope of 0,35 m, considering a coma diameter of 50 ", a tail length of 70 " and 14.6 magnitude. The preliminary orbital elements provided q = 2,0 AU, perihelion on December 7th.
The story of the discovery appeared in A/CC Major News About Minor Objects:
1 - Roy Tucker
2 - Triple telescope of 35 cm of the Goodricke-Pigott Observatory.
3 - C/2004 Q1 in Cetus, one of the images of the series of the discovery, obtained on August 23rd. The comet was estimated visually ~13.0. The star shining outside the left edge of the field, SAO 110700, has magnitude 8.2.
Machholz - C/2004 Q2 - C/2010 F4
[Images: Donald Machholz, next to the telescope used for the discovery, image taken on August 29th. by its son, Mark Machholz; C/2004 Q2, image CCD obtained by Michael Mattiazzo on November 16th.
Donald Machholz (Colfax, California, USA), like Bradfield, is another prolific discoverer. He found his 10th comet, C/2004 Q2, visual with a reflector of 0,15 m at 30x, on August 27th. It was magnitude 11.2 and had a coma of 2 '. C/2004 Q2 would pass perihelion on the 24th of January 2005 with q = 1,2 AU. It was expected that the comet would reach 3 mag. in January.
A personal commentary on its discovery appeared on August 29th. in the comets-ml of Yahoo:
“… It was only yesterday morning when I found the comet but much has happened since then.
I began comet hunting on Jan 1st, 1975, and for nearly 30 years I've done some comet hunting every month. At the time I found this comet I had searched 7046 hours, 1457 since my previous find, in 1994, when I found three comets in four months.When I found this latest one I was on my back deck, using my 6 " (15cm) Criterion Dynascope (purchased in 1968). I used a 2 " ED eyepiece pressed to over the focussing I had, yielding 30x and a field of view of about 2 degrees. This is the same setup I use for my Messier Marathons, and I used it last March to find all 110 objects by memory in one night. I'm very comfortable with it. I uses it on my back deck from Time to 10 Time to compliment the " reflector and 5 " homemade binoculars I have in my observatory 30 meters from my house. With the 6 " in the deck I dog see down to -45 degrees declination. Is had covered some of the southern sky on Aug 25, then went back out on Aug 27 to cover dwells sky, working my way eastward to after each N-S sweep.
We will just have to wait and see what the comet actually does. After I reported the discovery it is out of my hands. I take not credit for what it does, whether it fizzles, or brightens a lot or it hits some habited planetary body! We all are now observers … “Details about this discovery can be found on his webpage.
[Images: Donald Machholz, next to the telescope used in the discovery, C/2010 F4 in CCD image obtained by Ramon Naves on 27 March at 4h00 UT].
The IAUC 9132
March 26, 2010 reported the discovery
of a new comet made visually by
Donald Machholz on
March 23rd. with a
0.47 m reflector 77x. with magnitude 11 and a coma of 2 '.
confirmed on Mar. 26th by
itself, at a position indicative of a rapid movement towards the Sun,
and later by other observers. Preliminary
parabolic orbital elements of C/2010
appeared on MPEC
2010-F88 on the 27th, showing perihelion on April
the distance q = 0.61 AU.
This is the 11th. visual comet discovery for Machholz, who had searched 607 hours since his last discovery C/2004 Q2. Also, this is the first visual comet discovery after 2006. (IAUC 9127 (subscription required). (Maik Meyer http://www.comethunter.de)
John Broughton - P/2002 T5 - C/2006 OF2
[Images: left, John Broughton, next to the telescope used in the discovery of P/2004 T5; right: the weak comet in one of the CCD images that confirmed the finding, obtained by Robert McNaught with the 1 m telescope on October 24th. from Siding Spring, showing a small coma of 2" strongly condensed with a weak tail].
John Broughton (Reedy Creek, Queensland, Australia) discovered the periodic comet P/2005 T5 on CCD images obtained on October 9th. (magnitude 18,5) with a reflector of 0,51 m, which was confirmed by other observers. The object was also found in previous images (26th of August, Siding Spring Survey, and later ones of LINEAR). The P/2005 T5 passed perihelion on November 3rd. at a distance of q=3.2 AU, with P=19.5 years.
On July 17th. 2006, initially supposed as asteroidal object found in images CCD taken by John Broughton with a reflector of 0,25 m, and its cometary nature was later confirmed by Carl Hergenrother in CCD images obtained on September 20th. and 26th. (magnitude 18) with the Catalina 1,5 m Kuiper telescope. C/2006 OF2 will pass perihelion on September 15th. 2008 at a distance of q=2.4 AU.
comet was visually observed for a long period,
reaching maximum of brightness between September 2008
and January 2009, within
magnitude 9,8 -
Robert McNaught - C/2006 P1
Detailed information on this impressive comet can be found on, the Great Comet of 2007:
C/2006 P1 (McNaught)
C/2006 P1 (McNaught), 20 January 2007
Siding Spring Observatory, Australia
Robert McNaught next to the Uppsala telescope of 0,5 m which was used for the discovery of comet C/2006 P1
Siding Spring Observatory, Australia
On September 1st. 2009, IAUC 9070 informed about the discovery of a new comet by Robert McNaught, on CCD images obtained on August 31st. (magnitude 17) with the 0,5m Schmidt telescope of Siding Spring. The preliminary elements of C/2009 Q5 (McNaught) appeared in MPEC 2009-R02, with q=1.6 AU and perihelion on March 11th. 2010.
This comet is number 50 of this great observer, in a splendid series of comet discoveries in which it emphasizes the Great Comet of 2007, C/2006 P1 (McNaught).
(Later, MPEC 2009-R31 offered improved elliptical orbital elements for P/2009 Q5 (McNaught), that has turned out to be of short period, according to which the comet would pass perihelion on the 8th of September 2009 with q=2.9 AU, an P=21 years. ).
P/2009 Q5 (McNaught) in Sculptor, 27th September 2009.
(The comet, located in the center of the image, of almost stellar appearance, was estimated visually m1~15.2. The star located in the right part of the image, TYC 6426-2456-1, has magnitude 12.1)
David Levy - P/2006 T1
IAUC 8757 on the October 3rd. communicated the discovery of a new comet, C/2006 T1 (Levy). The object was found visually on October 2nd. (magnitude 10,5) with a reflector of 0,41 m, near the planet Saturn, and is number 22nd from David Levy (Jarnac Observatory, Tucson, Arizona, USA). The discovery was later confirmed by other observers with CCD and visually. CCD images obtained 3 days later by Peter Birtwhistle (telescope of 0,40 m, Great Shefford, Berkshire, U.K.) showed a round 4.5' coma and a of 14 ' long tail. The comet was also observed visually by Alan Hale on October 6th. with a reflector of 0,41 m (Cloudcroft, New Mexico, USA), with a total magnitude of 9.8. The preliminary orbital elements appeared in the MPEC 2006-T21, the comet would pass perihelion on the October 9th. 2006 with a distance q=1.1 AU.
A story of the discovery appeared in the News from SkyTonight.com of Sky & Telescope:
The MPEC 2006-T47 (7th of October) offered improved elliptical orbital elements, that confirmed to be of short period, according to which it would pass perihelion on the same day of the MPEC, 7th of October, at a distance q=0.99 AU, with P=5.4 years.
P/2006 T1 (Levy) in LEO, near Saturn, 3rd of Oct. 2006
(The comet was visually m1=9.4, showing a fine ionic tail of 10'. The star in the right edge of the image, GSC-1410-0382, has magnitude 13.6)
SCT 406 mm + CCD,
Peter Birtwhistle, Great Shefford Observatory (Berkshire, U.K. )
An apparently asteroidal object discovered by D. H. Levy, W. Levy, and T. Glinos on Mar. 9, 2010, using a 64-cm reflector at Jarnac Observatory (Vail) has been found to be cometary after posting on the NEO Confirmation Page. D. Chestnov and A. Novichonok (remotely from Tzec Maun Observatory near Mayhill) and W. H. Ryan and E. V. Ryan (Magdalena Ridge) reported about the cometary appearance of the 18.5m object. The MPC was also able to link observations of the Mt. Lemmon Survey obtained on Feb. 17, 2010. The orbit for comet P/2010 E2 (Jarnac) shows perihelion on Apr. 7, 2010, at about 2.4 AU. The period is about 25.3 years. This is the first amateur discovery in 2010, and the 23rd comet for Levy. (IAUC 9125, MPEC 2010-E64). (Maik Meyer http://www.comethunter.de)
Lovejoy - C/2007 E2 - C/2007 K5 - C/2011 W3 - C/2013 R1 - C/2014 Q2
[Images: Left, Terry Lovejoy, with its Canon cameras 350D and 300D used for the discoveries of C/2007 E2 and C/2007 K5. Right: the C/2007 E2 in one of the images of the discovery, obtained by Lovejoy on March 15th. In this image, with the North to the left, the comet was considered visually m1=9.5. The bright star at the left edge of the image, SAO 246725, has magnitude 6.5]
Terry Lovejoy (Thornlands, Queensland, Australia) discovered the comet in images obtained on the March 15th. (magnitude 10) with a Canon camera 350D + telephoto lens 200 mm f/2.8, in which it showed an outstanding central condensation and a coma of 4 ' with characteristic greenish color. The discovery was visually confirmed by John Drummond (Gisborne, New Zealand) on the 16th. with a 0,41m telescope and magnitude 9.5.
IAUC 8820 offers additional information on C/2007 E2 (Lovejoy), for which new astrometry (MPEC 2007-F32) allows to calculate orbital elements, according to which the comet will pass perihelion on March 27th. 2007 at a distance of q=1.1 AU. In the last days of April it will have it's maximum approach to the Earth, 0,4 AU, being able to reach magnitude 7-8, observable in good conditions from the North Hemisphere.
A personal commentary on its discovery appeared the March 17th. in the Comets-ml of Yahoo:
“Is use Digitalis SLR doubles bed to image the sky, and then process the images using IRIS then examines them using the blink technique on to computer monitor. After to very intensifies search effort in 2006 without success (one to near miss with C/2006 M4), I had wound back my efforts in 2007 (partly because of C/2006 P1 and partly because of tires). March 15 was only the second Time this to year I had donates any searches in the morning sky. While downloading images from the double bed on March 15 Is noticed to cometary object AT the edge of 16 raw images centred AT RA 20h57m DEC -51d 18m made between 17h22m and 17h46m UT. Normally, the raw unprocessed images show only the brightest objects under I was very suprised that this could sees an undiscovered comet. AT first I though it was simply to bright deep sky object, but to after processing the intensifies telltale green hue and generally morphology strongly suggested comet. Additionally, blinked when I the processed images it showed small but to clear motion. Astrometry quickly revealed not known object in that location. At this point I was very sure I had something:)
For The following day there was an agonising wait cometrise (about midnight from my location) and I notified to number of people for followup observations. John Drummond being located to further east had the first opportunity to see the comet. Sure enough John phoned me to confirm the existence of the comet around 11pm local Time. Its first Time I have spoken to John and what to way to introduces yourself! 16 UT give to Green contacted annoys on to me March to advise me that the comet had been announced, but ace Rep standard procedure the comet would not sees named until an orbit was calculated and it was determined the comet was not an existing named one.
All told I estimate I have examined about 1000 image fields since annoys 2004, which would equate to about 1000 hours (it takes me 10 you make a draft to actually examines an image, but there plows to other Time consuming tasks like setup/development/identifying suspect objects, etc). Unfortunately I don't keep record on Time taken and images examined.
Rob McNaught informs me that unusually
cloudy to weather there are
severly hampered coverage of the Siding Springs survey. Additionally, I
also checked SWAN this morning and the last posted image is February
18. Visual Moonlight problably explained why observers hadn't got to
the comet first… “
- May. 29 - IAUC 8840 reported the discovery of a comet, 2007 K5, by Terry Lovejoy in images obtained May26th. (magnitude 13) taken with a Canon camera 300D + telephoto lens 200 mm, f/2.8, in which it showed one comma of 1 ' with characteristic blue-greenish color. John Drummond (Gisborne, New Zealand) confirmed the discovery on CCD images obtained on May 28th., Robert McNaught (telescope of 0,5 m, Siding Spring, Australia) obtained astrometríc data on May 29th. Orbital parameters are not facilitated, but the IAUC provides astrometry of the images of Lovejoy, Drummond and McNaught.
- May. 31 - the MPEC 2007-K80 offers improved parabolic orbital elements of C/2007 K5 (Lovejoy), according to which the comet passed perihelion on April 26th. 2007 with a distance q=1.1 AU.
Terry also commented its new discovery on May 30th. in the Comets-ml of Yahoo:“… After to discovering Comet C/2007 E2 on March 15 this to year, I a.m. happy to report finding to another Comet just 2 months to later! Naturally I a.m. elated, especially since this one was to much to tougher and challenging find, proving my techniques plows working.
Particular This comet (designated C/2007 K5) was found ace to small faint but still to rather obvious blue-green haze in my images from the evening of May 26. Initial My estimate is mag 13, but I admit I have not attempted dwells needs photometry and visually the comet could well sees brighter. Interestingly the discovery was made during to bright waxing moon and in the evening sky where moderate light pollution prevails. On the evening I had both doubles bed (to Canon 300D + Canon 350D) mounted the usual way with the 300D pointed towards -18 declination and the 350D pointed towards declination -11. This allows me to image 13 degree wide sweep of sky from west to east. Individual Some 12 starfields were covered with both doubles bed, with 12 subexposures of 90 seconds for each starfield.
The following day, I downloaded the images from my 300D and ran them through the usual automated processing steps (IRIS is used for this). This processing step outputs 2 images Rep starfield effectively separated by 10 you make a draft under that moving objects like comets dog sees identified. By “blinking” the 2 images one dog see objects like asteroids and comets bobbing backwards and forwards. On examining the first image I almost immediately noticed to moving small hazy object with to distinctive blue green colour typical of many comets. For I knew I had something sure, and notified to number of to other for confirmation of to possible comet.
Confirmation Comecon on May 28 when both John Drummond and I made followup observations, which were then sent to Dan Green AT CBAT. Further followup was obtained on May 29 by Rob circular McNaught before an official (IAUC 8840) announced the new comet ace C/2007 K5. Interesting, C/2007 K5 required less than 20 hours of present searching in contrast to the estimated 1400 hours for C/2007 E2.
The comet itself appears to sees clears faint, and will problably remain that way, but to comet none-the-less. Further eleven astrometry is require to calculate an orbit and this is donates the comet will sees named. “
C/2007 K5 (Lovejoy) in Lepus, two of the images of the discovery, 26 and 28 of May of 2007
(Images with North to the right. The comet was magnitude 13. The bright star of the right field, SAO 151019 has magnitude 8.4)
exhibitions: 12 90 xs seg, 400 ISO, Canon 300D, objective 200 mm, 200 mm to f/2.8
(Terry Lovejoy, Australia)
Quanzhi Ye - C/2007 N3
[Images: Left, Quanzhi Ye, in the Lulin Observatory. Right: C/2007 N3 in Aquarius, discovery images obtained on July 11th.
An apparently asteroidal object (magnitude 19) was found by Quanzhi Ye (Guangzhou, China), on images obtained on July 11th by Chi Sheng Lin (Institute of Astronomy, Central National University, Jung-Li, Taiwan) during the Lulin Sky Survey (telescope of 0,41 m, Lulin Observatory, Taiwan), and his cometary nature was perceived in CCD images obtained on July 17th by James Young (telescope of 0,61 m, Table Mountain Observatory, California, USA). The preliminary orbital elements of C/2007 N3 (Lulin) appeared in the MPEC 2007-O05, according to which the comet would pass perihelion one January 7th 2009 in a perihelion distance q=1.2 AU. The date of the perihelion settled down later on January 10th.
It reached maximum brightness in the last week of February, its approach to the Earth (0,41 AU day 24): J.J. Gonzalez, from Leon, reported m1=4.8 on Feb. 23rd, with a coma of 30 '; observing (in binoculars 10x50) 1.5º long ion tail and 1.5º dust tail.
C/2007 N3 in Libra, 5 February 2009
[The comet was estimated visually m1 ~6,0, with its characteristics tail and antitail].
Telescope 200 mm + CCD, taken by Michael Jäger
Tao Chen and Xing Gao - C/2008 C1
[Images: Left, Tao Chen; right: Xing Gao, in the Xingming Observatory. Center: the C/2008 C1 in one of the images of the series of the discovery, obtained on February 2nd. The comet was estimated visually m1~13.0. The brightest star of the field SAO 20455, has magnitude 8.1]
According to the report of Jin Beize (Peking Technology and Business University, China), the comet was found by Tao Chen (Suzhou, Jiangsu) in an CCD image obtained February 1st. 2008 (magnitude 13) and by Xing Gao (Urumqi, Xinjiang) with a telephoto lens of 7 cm, focal length 200mm, to f/2.8, and Canon camera 350D, in Xingming Observatory, TM. Nanshan, during a search program of Novas. The comet was also found in previous images obtained by Gao January 30th. and 31st. (mag. 14.0 and 13,5), and on February 2nd (mag. 12.0). Later, the discovery was confirmed in images obtained by numerous observers worldwide. It was also observed visually by Alan Hale (USA) in m1=13.1. The preliminary orbital elements appeared in the MPEC 2008-C16, with q=1.3 AU and perihelion on April 17th. being able to reach magnitude 11.
Rui Yang and Xing Gao - P/2009 L2
Rui Yang (Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China) identified the comet in CCD images obtained June 15th. (magnitude 14) by Xing Gao with a telephoto lens of 10,7 cm (diameter) at f/2.8, and Canon camera 350D, in the Xingming Observatory, during its search program for comets. The discovery was later confirmed by other observers.
The preliminary orbital elements appeared in the MPEC 2009-M05, with q=1.3 AU, with a perihelion on May 19th. and P=6.6 years, being 0,32 AU from Earth on the day of the discovery.
[Images: Left, Rui Yang; right: the P/2009 L2 in an section of one of the images of the series of the discovery, obtained June 15th. The comet was estimated m1~13.0. The brightest star in the field, SAO 161246, has magnitude 8.6]
One of the discovery images of the P/2009 L2, obtained by Xing Gao, 19:51 UT on June 15th, showing a region of the Milkyway between Serpens and Sagittarius. The position of the comet is indicated in the lower left corner.
Robert Holmes - C/2008 N1
[Images: Left, Robert Holmes. Center: the C/2008 N1 in Pegasus, one of the discovey images. Right: 0,61m telescope of the Astronomical Research Observatory]
An apparently asteroidal object (magnitude 20) was found on CCD images taken July 1st. by Robert Holmes, obtained with a 0,61m telescope (Astronomical Research Observatory, Charleston, Illinois, USA), and its cometary nature was found on CCD images obtained on July 4th. by Peter Birtwhistle (0,40 m telescope, Great Shefford, U.K.), and on July 5th. by other observers. The preliminary orbital elements of C/2008 N1 (Holmes) appeared in the MPEC 2008-N19, showing a perihelion on September 24th. 2009 at q=2.8 AU.
A story and images of the discovery can be found on the pages of the observatory:
Stanislav Maticic - C/2008 Q1
[Images: Left, Stanislav Maticic next to the 0,60m Cichocki telescope of the Crni Vrh Observatory; right: the C/2008 Q1 in Draco, one of the discovery images.]
The stellar object at magnitude 17,8 was found on CCD images taken August 18th, under strong lunar interference, by Stanislav Maticic, with a robotic 0,60m telescope, during the search program PIKA of comets and asteroids developed at the Crni Vrh Observatory (Slovenia), and its cometary nature was found by Herman Mikuz on images on the 19th obtained with the same telescope, confirming itself later by other observers. It is the first comet discovery from Crni Vrh. The preliminary orbital elements appeared in the MPEC 2008-Q12, showing a perihelion on January 2nd. 2009 with a distance of q=2.9 AU. Later astrometry improved the orbital elements, with a perihelion on December 30th 2008.
Herman Mikuz wrote the following describing the circumstances of the discovery:
Stanislav Maticic discovered comet C/2008 Q1 (Maticic) in the course of the Crni Vrh Observatory Asteroid and Comet Search program PIKA, on August 18, 2008. A new comet ( first comet discovery from Crni Vrh Observatory ) was automatically detected on images taken between Aug. 18.81364 UT and 18.84247 UT with the 0.60-m f/3.3 Cichocki Sky Survey Telescope. Discovery images were taken in moonlight conditions ( two days after the Full Moon ). In such conditions, the object cometary appearance was not evident until next evening, August 19, when the confirmation images were obtained in much darker sky conditions. Further inspection of series of 1 minute unfiltered followup exposures obtained with the same telescope around Aug. 19.816 UT show that this object has diffuse appearance ( coma diameter ~10 arc sec ) with strong condensation. After being posted on NEO Confirmation Page, additional measurements were obtained by several observatories. The discovery was announced in IAU Circular 8966. Complete observations and preliminary parabolic orbit were published in MPEC 2008-Q12.
Michel Ory - P/2008 Q2
1 - Michel Ory and the Observatoire Astronomique Jurassien (Vicques, Switzerland).
2 - P/2008 Q2 in Piscis, discovery image, obtained August 27th, 22h32 UT. The comet was estimated magnitude 17,6.]
3 - Michel Ory with the telescope Bernard Comte of 61 cm.
Michel Ory (Delemont, Switzerland) discovered the object, initially asteroidal of magnitude 17,6, on images CCD taken August 27th. 2008 with the telescope Bernard Comte (0,61 m) of the Observatoire Astronomique Jurassien in Vicques. The cometary nature the P/2008 Q2 was perceived in CCD images taken on the 28th. by several observers, among others: A. Knoefel (telescope of 0,5 m, Schoenbrunn, Germany), L. Buzzi (telescope of 0,60 m, Varese, Italy), A.C. Gilmore and P.M. Kilmartin (telescope of 1 m, Mount John University Observatory, New Zealand). The preliminary elliptical orbital elements appeared in the MPEC 2008-Q51, according to which the comet would pass perihelion on October 23rd. 2008 with a distance q=1.4 UA, and P=6.0 years.
Later astrometry allowed improved orbital elements, according to which the comet would pass the perihelion on October 19th. 2008, distance q=1.38 AU, with P=5.8 years.
Eleanor Helin (1932 - 2009)
Eleanor Helin, born Eleanor Kay Francis (Pasadena, USA) was one of the most outstanding figures in the study of NEO's, in which she began when another great pioneer, Eugene Shoemaker, California Institute of Technology was gotten up in 1969 to California Institute, in which Helin worked in projects of Geology and Planetary Scientist. From the collaboration of both the PCAS (Palomar Planet Crossing Asteroid Survey) in 1973 arose, program predecessor of NEAT (Near Earth Asteroid Tracking), been born in 1995 under the cover of the NASA and the JPL programs where Helin was the main investigator. Then, in the beginning of the 90s, the photographic plates progressively were replaced by the more effective CCD.
The Fast-Moving Object Helin 1976 AA, (2062) Aten, was the first asteroid with an orbital semiaxis (a = 0,967 UA) smaller than the one of the Earth, being the prototype of the NEO family. It was inevitable that, in its long years of fruitful search, Helin would discover several comets. First C/1977 H1 (Helin), which would follow others more (with the aid of assistants like Brian Roman, Randy Crockett, Jeff Alu and Ken Lawrence), among them was 1977e = some of short period, like 111P, 117P, 132P, 151P and 152P.
In words of Alain Maury (in mpml), “… not only was she one of the 3 pioneers (if you count Gene Shoemaker and Tom Gehrels), but she tried very hard getting others to observes NEO's. She collaborated with many observatories worldwide trying to get them to make their own survey. She has been a good ambassador of JPL around the world. Behind every working survey there are great people ..., and Glo was one of the top one, starting with films on the 18inch at Palomar to the era of digitized surveys. She was hard working, and earned her place fighting for it.(A more complete biographical reference has been realised by Brian Marsden, International Comet Quarterly, 31, pp. 3-4, 2009).
Charles Juels (1944 - 2009) and Paulo Holvorcem - C/2002 Y1 - C/2005 N1
Paulo Holvorcem (left) and Charles Juels in Arizona, 2001 (Image: Chris Holvorcem)
Charles Juels, born in New York and doctor of profession, dedicated with intensity his efforts to Astronomy, being a prolific asteroid discoverer, 316, of which 134 along with Paulo Holvorcem (Brazil). In the cometary field, the successful team Juels - Holvorcem will be remembered by two interesting discoveries, C/2002 Y1 and C/2005 N1.
It was discovered on CCD in images taken on December 28th. 2002 (magnitude 15) by means of a refractor of 0,12 m from Fountain Hills, Arizona. The preliminar parabolic orbital elements showed perihelion on April 10th. 2003 with a distance q=0.67 AU (IAUC 8039).
Later astrometry allowed to obtain improved elliptical orbital elements, according to which the comet would pass the perihelion on April 13th. to the distance q=0.71 UA, with e=0.997. The comet came near to the visual magnitude m1=6.0 near perihelion.
C/2002 Y1 in Berenices Comma, one of the images of the series of the discovery. The comet was estimated magnitude 15,1 CCD. Comparing, the star most shining of the central part of the field, TYC 1458-120-1, has magnitude 8.8.
A personal story of Paulo Holvorcem on the discovery appeared in the list Minor Planet List Mailing - mpml of Yahoo, of which the following text has been abstracted:
“Me and Charles collaborate over the Internet, with the help of “fast” ADSL Internet connections, which makes it easy to communicate and transfer images in near-real time between Fountain Hills (near Phoenix, Arizona) and my home in Campinas, Brazil. From here I do schedule search and follow-up runs at Fountain Hills using software I wrote for this purpose (or planned by Charles), and we split the tasks of data analysis by transferring images over the Internet. The astrometric observations from codes 926, 848, and 860, which you see in MPECs are obtained in an analogous way. These days I hardly leave my house to observe!
We were very lucky to find C/2002 Y1 on the first night with the new 0.12-m refractor on an automated mount. For some time we had considered the idea of doing wide-field searches new “bright” objects, and this was our first experiment. The field of view is about 2,3 x 2,3 degrees. On that first night (Dec. 28th.) we searched some 300 square degrees and were surprised to find an object of apparently diffuse appearance. On the discovery images and few others taken for follow-up on the same night suggested a coma about 1,8 ' in diameter, which we didn't immediately report (it seemed too much luck, maybe it was not real). But we reported the positions immediately to the MPC, which posted the object (as HJ0080 then referred to) on the NEOCP. It was soon confirmed by others, so we were sure that it was real. Real as it was, then the co-addition of the images showed that it was a comet. Then we reported the detection of the coma on Dec. 29th., and soon afterwards the comet was announced on an IAUC and to MPEC.”
It was discovered by Charles Juels and Paulo Holvorcem on images CCD obtained on July 2nd. (magnitude 14,6) by means of a refractor of 0,07 m from Fountain Hills, having located also in some of his previous images (June 30th. and July 1st.). The preliminary orbital parabolic elements showed perihelion August 21st. to the distance q=1.1 UA (IAUC 8557).
Later astrometry made show perihelion the date on August 22nd., at q=1.1 AU, with e=0.998. Its maximum of brightness reached magnitude m1=11.2 shortly after the perihelion.
C/2005 N1 in Perseus, in one of the images of the series of the discovery, being considered magnitude 14,6. The brightest star of the field, SAO 56296, has magnitude 6.7.
Itagaki - C/2009 E1
1 - Koichi Itagaki and the 21 cm telescope used for the discovery, Takanezawa.
2 - Quarter of control of the observatory.
3 - The C/2009 E1 in one of the images of the series of the discovery obtained by Itagaki.
4 - Confirmation image, obtained March 15th. by Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero and Paul Camilleri. The comet was considered visually then in m1=9.6 at first. Comparativily, brightes star in the edge superior of the field, SAO 110737, has magnitude 9.5
Koichi Itagaki (Yamagata, Japan) found the comet on images taken March 14th. with of a telescope of 0,21 m located in Takanezawa, using software for the automatic detection of moving objecs designed by Hiroshi Kaneda. Deduced CCD magnitude of the images was 12.8. Juan Jose González realised a visual confirmation from Leon the same day, considering his magnitude in m1=9.6, with a coma of 4,5 ', authenticated confirmation on the 15th. by other observers using CCD images. Michal Kusiak (Observatory of the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland) informed that the comet was visible in the Lyman images alpha of the ultraviolet phantom of hydrogen obtained by instrument SWAN of space mission SOHO, considering an approximated total magnitude of 11. The preliminary orbital elements calculated by Syuichi Nakano appeared in the CBET 1721, according to which the comet would pass the perihelion on April 7th. 2009 at a distance of q=0.61 AU.
Later astrometry allowed to obtain improved elliptical orbital elements, with e=0.985.
Dae-a.m. Yi - C/2009 F6
C/2009 F6 in a field of Cassiopeia, April 7th. 2009, image of Michael Jaeger. The comet was considered visually then in m1 ~8,1, with a coma of 7 '. The brightest star of the field, in the edge inferior of the image, is SAO 35961, of magnitude 7.7.
IAUC 9035 of April 6th. extended the information on C/2009 F6, with respect to the existence of a previous report to their finding in the images of the SWAN. The comet was discovered by Dae-a.m. Yi (Yeongwol-kun, Gangwon-do, Korea) on CCD images obtained on March 26th. with a Canon camera 5D and objective of 90 mm f/2.8, considering magnitude 12.5. The preliminary orbital elements of C/2009 F6 (Yi-SWAN) appeared in the MPEC 2009-G21, according to which the comet would pass perihelion on May 8th. 2009 a a distance of q=1.3 AU.
Mauro Vittorio Zanotta (1963 - 2009)
On Sunday May 17th. 2009 an unfortunate accident took place in the French slope of Mont Blanc, in which Mauro Vittorio Zanotta (Laino, Italy), was killed, loving Mountain climbing and Astronomy. C/1991 Y1 will be remembered in the cometary community by its discovery of the comet 1991g1 = (Zanotta-Brewington), on December 23rd, 1991 using a reflector of 15 cm, and independently by Howard Brewington (Cloudcroft, New Mexico, the USA) (IAUC 5412).
A useful and interesting text of Zanotta on the observation and search of comets can be consulted in:
C/1991 Y1 (Zanotta-Brewington) in the Pegasus, 30 December 1991
(The comet was estimated visually then in m1~9. The brightest star of the field, SAO 106884, has magnitude 8.0)
Image: Telescope 190 mm
(image in false color), taken by Herman Mikuz.
The La Sagra Sky Survey - 233P/La Sagra = P/2009 WJ50 - P/2009 QG31 - P/2009 T2 - P/2010 R2 - C/2012 B3 - P/2012 NJ - P/2012 S2
The great mountain of the Sagra dominates the horizon on one of the telescopes of 45 cm, used in the discovery of P/2009 T2
233P/La Sagra = P/2009 WJ50
apparently asteroidal object,
discovered on Nov. 19, 2009, in the course of the La
has been found to show
cometary appearance in images taken in the course of the WISE
mission. Upon request of the MPC M. T. Read and J. V. Scotti
(Spacewatch) and W. H. Ryan and E. V. Ryan
(Magdalena Ridge) were able to confirm this result. Additionally, the
comet was identified with a two-night detection by LINEAR of May 8, and
10, 2005, then named 2005 JR71.
The orbit for comet P/2009 WJ50 =2005
(La Sagra) shows perihelion on Mar. 12, 2010, at about 1.79
period is about 5.3 years. This is the 6th
discovery in 2009, and the 3rd for the La Sagra
(IAUC 9117, MPEC 2010-D01, -D02). (Maik Meyer http://www.comethunter.de)
IAUC 9078 on September 29th. announced the discovery of a new periodic comet, P/2009 QG31 (La Sagra). Initially supposed as an asteroidal object (magnitude 18) it was found on images obtained on August 16th. and 19th. by the La Sagra Sky Survey (Astronomical observatory of La Sagra, telescope of 0,45 m, Puebla of Don Fadrique, Granada, Spain), and its cometary nature was perceived in CCD images obtained September 12th. by Andrew Tubbiolo and Robert McMillan with the Spacewatch telescope of 1,8 m (Steward Observatory, Kitt Peak, Arizona, USA), and later by other observers. The elliptical orbital elements appeared in the MPEC 2009-S67 and MPEC 2009-S151, according to which the comet would pass perihelion on October 10th. 2009 to the distance q=2.1 AU, with P=6.8 years.
Present (2009) the instrumentation of the LSSS consists of three telescopes of 0,45 m. f/2.8 located in the Astronomical observatory of La Sagra. The pursuit of the objects is realised by means of the telescopes of the OLS and the OAM. The acquisition and reduction of data are made entirely remote via Internet, by the members of LSSS located in Spain, Germany, Croatia and Hong Kong.
In the obtaining of the images of the discovery of P/2009 QG31 Rescuing Sanchez participated, Jaime Nomen, Reiner Stoss, William K. Yeung, Juan Rodriguez, Aleksandar Cikota and Stefan Cikota.
The main activities of the OLS are astrometry and photometric observations of asteroids and comets. Until September 2009 more than 500000 observations has been sent to the MPC. From 2008 the LSSS has become the most prolific NEO program after Catalina, LINEAR and Spacewatch, the three important programs subsidized by the NASA.
Confirmation images of P/2009 QG31, obtained on September 18th by Gustavo Muler and Richard Miles.
IAUC 9081 October 13th. announced the discovery of a new periodic comet, P/2009 T2 (La Sagra), found by Reiner Stoss on images obtained on October 12th. (magnitude 17) by Jaime Nomen during the La Sagra Sky Survey (Astronomical observatory of La Sagra, telescope of 0,45 m). The discovery was confirmed by other observers. The object has been located in previous images (September 18th. and later ones) of the Catalina Sky Survey. The elliptical orbital elements appeared in the MPEC 2009-T39, according to which the comet will pass perihelion on January 12th. 2010 to the distance q=1.8 AU, with P=21 years.
In the obtaining of the images
of the discovery of the P/2009
Jaime Nomen, Reiner Stoss,
and Juan Rodriguez.
Confirmation images of P/2009 T2, obtained on October 13th. by Richard Miles.
Golden Delicious Hill Observatory (J77, tel. 0.28 m, Stourton Caundle, Dorset, UK) + Faulkes North (F65, tel. 2.0 ms, Hawaii, USA)
J. Nomen reports that an object, discovered in the course of the La Sagra Sky Survey on Sep. 14, 2010, showed some diffuse appearance, which was later confirmed on Sep. 16. Prediscovery images by La Sagra of Aug. 13, did not show that diffuseness so clearly. After placement on the NEO Confirmation Page P. Birtwhistle (Great Shefford, England), R. Holmes and S. Foglia (Westfield, Illinois) and J. V. Scotti (Spacewatch, USA) confirmed the cometary nature of the 17.5m object. Comet P/2010 R2 (La Sagra) passed perihelion already on June 25, 2010, at about 2.6 AU. The period is about 5.5 years. It seems that this object is one of the so called 'main belt comets'. This is the 4th discovery for the amateur survey La Sagra. (CBET 2459 (subscription required), MPEC 2010-S11)
Left, Jan Vales by the 0.60 m telescope of Cichocki of Crni Vrh Observatory
right: P/2010 H2-like asteroidal in Virgo, one of the images in the series of the discovery. The brightest star in the field, TYC 311-1309-1, on the left edge, has magnitude 10.4]
On images taken by Jan Vales in the course of the Crni Vrh Asteroid and Comet Search program PIKA, on April 16th., 2010, an unusually bright unknown object ( mag. 12.5 ) was automatically detected. The object was near opposition, in an area searched by Catalina Sky Survey ( CSS ) just a day before. As it is not usual to encounter unknown objects of this magnitude in the area recently scanned by sky surveys, a question of its nature naturally appeared. The object was placed on the Near Earth Object Confirmation Page and with the help of observations from other observatories it became apparent very soon that it is about 2 AU away. In case that this was an asteroid (as we would infer from the stellar appearance on the discovery images) this would mean a diameter in the order of 100 km, which is extremely unlikely. The remaining explanation within common knowledge of the Solar system is that it is a cometary outburst of a large magnitude. Recently a similar outburst was experienced by comet 17/P Holmes. This object has triggered massive activity of 40 observatories around the world which contributed altogether 226 observations to the Minor Planet Center ( MPC ). The observers from the CSS confirmed that the object is not visible on their images taken only 15 hours before the discovery. There was a lively debate about the nature of this object on the Minor Planet Mailing List with most plausible explanation that it is a previously unknown comet in outburst. Further observations by several observers showed that the object has a wider profile than nearby stars and Alain Maury detected faint coma on long exposures made from Chile. At 19:25 UT on April 17 the MPC issued an electronic circular MPEC 2010-H12 where the object is designated as a comet P/2010 H2. The orbit is still not very well determined, but most likely it has a semimajor axis of 3.9 AU and eccentricity of 0.2. This is similar to the orbital elements of the asteroids of the Hilda family. This object will undoubtedly be investigated further in the days to come.
Kaoru Ikeya and Shigeki Murakami - P / 2010 V1
(Images: Left, Kaoru Ikeya, right: Shigeki Murakami, with the telescopes used for the discovery)
C/2010 V1 was discovered visually and independently by Kaoru Ikeya (Mori-machi, Shuchi-gun, Shizuoka-ken, Japan; 25 cm reflector telescope at 39x) on November 2nd., 2010, and Shigeki Murakami ( Tohkamachi, Niigata-ken, Japan; reflector at 78x 46 cm) on November 3rd., according to the IAUC 9175 from November 3rd.
The IAUC 9176 November 4th. provided additional information, and MPEC 2010-V46 parabolic orbital elements by which the comet had passed perihelion on October 18th. at the distance q = 1.7 AU. Visual estimates with binoculars made on November 4th. offered a m1 ~ 7.5.
New astrometry ( MPEC 2 010-W29 ) showed that the comet is of short period, with elliptical orbital elements by which the comet had passed perihelion on October 11th. at the distance q = 1.6 AU, with P = 5.0 years.
An extensive story of the discovery appear on Murakami's page:
P/2010 V1 Virgo, November 14, 2010
comet was estimated visually m1 ~ 8.2,
with a parabolic point of about 10 'along the major
The brightest star in the field is
SAO 139129, magnitude 7.7.
The galaxy visible on the left edge is NGC 4941, magnitude 12.0.
Image taken with a 200 mm telescope + CCD by Michael Jäger
Leonid Elenin - C / 2010 X1 - P/2011 NO1
The CBET 2584 of December 13th., 2010 reported the discovery of a new comet by Leonid Elenin (Lyubertsy, Russia) on CCD images obtained remotely from the ISON-NM Observatory (Mayhill, New Mexico, USA) on December 10th. (19 mag.) with a 0.45 m reflector. It was later confirmed by other observers. The very preliminary parabolic orbital elements and ephemeris appeared on MPEC 2010-X101 , according to which the comet had passed perihelion on April 1st., 2010 at a distance q = 5.2 AU.
Subsequent astrometric orbital elements yielded improved, according to which the comet will pass perihelion on September 10th., 2011, to the interesting short distance q = 0.48 AU.
Amateur astronomers L. Elenin (Lyubertsy) and I. Molotow
report their discovery of a new comet on Jul. 7th, 2011,
using a remotely
controlled 0.45-m astrograph at the ISON-NM observatory near Mayhill
(NM, USA). After posting on the NEO Confirmation Page R. Holmes, S.
Foglia, and T. Vorobjov (Ashmore), Foglia, P. Miller,
P. Roche, A. Tripp, R. Holmes, R. Miles, L. Buzzi (Faulkes Telescope North), L. Buzzi (Varese), N. Howes, G. Sostero, and E. Guido (Faulkes Telescope South), and H. Sato (Nerpio) confirmed the cometary nature of the 19.5m object. While the object was prepared for announcement by the CBAT it was already announced as asteroid 2011 NO1 by the MPC. The first orbit for the still nameless comet P/2011 NO1 indicated perihelion on already on Jan. 22, 2011, at about 1.2 AU. The period is about 13.1 years. This is Elenin's
second comet discovery. (Maik Meyer http://www.comethunter.de)
Michael Schwartz - C/2011 K1
Paulo R. Holvorcem (Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil) and Michael Schwartz (Patagonia, AZ, USA) report their discovery of a new comet using the Tenagra III astrograph on May 26, 2011. After placement on the NEO Confirmation Page W. H. Ryan and E. V. Ryan (Magdalena Ridge Observatory), L. Buzzi (Varese), and R. Holmes, T. Vorobjov, and S. Foglia (Ashmore) confirmed the cometary nature of the 18.5 m object. The first orbit for comet C/2011 K1 (Schwartz-Holvorcem) shows perihelion on Apr. 19, 2011, at about 3.4 AU. This is the 3rd. comet discovery for Holvorcem. (IAUC 9211 (subscription required),MPEC 2011-L04) (Maik Meyer http://www.comethunter.de)
Artyom Novichonok and Vladimir Gerke - P/2011 R3The Russian amateur astronomer Artyom Novichonok reports the discovery of a new comet by Vladimir Gerke and himself on images taken with a 40-cm Ritchey-Chretién reflector located at Ka-Dar observatory (near Nizhniy Arkhyz, Russia). After posting on the NEO Confirmation Page N. Howes, G. Sostero, and E. Guido (remotely using Faulkes Telescope North at Haleakala), G. Hug (Scranton), and T. H. Bressi (Spacewatch) were able to confirm the cometary nature. The first orbit for the 18.5m comet P/2011 R3 (Novichonok) indicated perihelion already on Aug. 23, 2011, at about 3.6 AU. The period is about 10.7 years. (Maik Meyer http://www.comethunter.de)
Claudine Rinner - P/2011 W2 - C/2012 CH17
Manfred Bruenjes - C/2012 C2
C/2012 C2 (Bruenjes): Discovered on 2012
Feb. 11, by amateur
astronomer Manfred Bruenjes (Warrensburg, Missouri, USA). 11.5m,
q=0.8 AU, T=2012 Mar. 12, CBET 3019, MPEC 2012-C44 (Maik Meyer http://www.comethunter.de)
Details about the discovery can be found on his website.
|Discovery image of C/2012 C2|
A more complete story about the discovery can be found here.
An apparently asteroidal object found on CCD images taken in the course
of the La Sagra survey by S. Sanchez, J. Nomen, M. Hurtado, J. A. Jaume, W. K.
Y. Yeung, P. Rios, F. Serra, and V. Rios with a 0.45-m f/2.8 reflector
(discovery observations tabulated below) has been reported by Gerhard J. Hahn
(Institute of Planetary Research, German Aerospace Center, Berlin) as showing
a 35" tail in p.a. 235 deg on stacked and single images taken by Stefano
Mottola using the 1.23-m telescope on Calar Alto on July 16, 17, and 18 UT.
Amateur discovery by V. Nevski and A. Novichonok in the course of the
International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) Survey from near
Kislovodsk, Russia, on 2012 Sep. 21. (Maik Meyer http://www.comethunter.de)
Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok - C/2012 S1 (ISON)
About the discovery...
It was first unstable night after ten ones of hard work. The endless clouds disturbed to look around the sky. That night Artyom and me decided to walk through early discovered asteroids with the most interesting orbits.But the sky became clean literally for half an hour till the dawn and it was decided to launch continious search platform on the border of Twins and Cancer – by chance.After the ending of the series Artyom went to have a rest. And I loaded platform in CoLiTec and remained to wait the processing completion learning earlier discovered astrometry of asteroids. When I started the programme of completing results the first thing I noticed among the third position objects was the bright one with unusual moving. The object was not identified with the MPC base. The unusual thing was rather slow movement relatively to the asteroids of the main zone in this region. At that moment I started to realize that so slow object did not belong to the asteroid zone and could be situated only far away behind Jupiter`s orbit. My heart missed a bit. Is it really a comet? There was nothing to do except disposing astrometry on the site NEOCP for acknowledgement. In the evening I asked Artyom to book the time for observation of the object on the 1.5m telescope of Maidanak
observatory to be sure in the comet nature of the object. Artyom and me looked through old materials,analyzed possible orbits of a new object, by then there appeared some new astrometry points. About 4 o`clock in the morning we saw the pictures – no doubt that it was a comet, classical compact one, 9x11, similar to long-period comets. We immediately sent a message to IAU. We were waiting for results. We were afraid that the object has already been discovered. But the most interesting was that the orbit of the comet started to appear with the introduction of new points of astrometry and the analysis showed perihilion near the Sun, so the brightness of the comet in the maximum could reach the full Moon. Finally on October 24 there was a circular and it was hard to believe that perihilion of the comet was 0,01 a.e. and at the maximum brightness could reach negative dimension and such one that the comet could become quite a comet of the century!
Copyright: Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok
image of C/2012 S1
Copyright: Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok
of cometary activity
Copyright: Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok
Discovered in the course of the amateur La Sagra Sky Survey on 2012 Sep. 23. 18m, q=1.4 AU, T=2012 Aug. 19, P=10.5 years.
CBET 3239, MPEC 2012-S79 (Maik Meyer http://www.comethunter.de)
Tomas Vorobjov , Bratislava, Slovak Republic, using remotely a 0.81-m f/7 Ritchey-Chretien reflector located at the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter.
On three 120-s images
via the Sierra Stars Observatory Network in the course of
minor-planet search survey undertaken as part of the International
Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) school campaigns. After
posting on the Minor Planet Center's NEOCP webpage, other observers
have commented on the object's cometary appearance. The discovery was
announced by the Minor Planet Center on
three days after the discovery.
Full coverage of the discovery can be found at http://ssonblog.sierrastars.com/?p=319
|Copyright: Tomas Vorobjov|
image of P/2012 T7
Copyright: Tomas Vorobjov
Animation of P/2012 T7
Copyright: Tomas Vorobjov
Paulo Holvorcem - C/2013 D1 (Holvorcem)
CBET 3420 announced the discovery of a new comet by Paulo Holvorcem in the course of a sky survey using a the Tenagra III astrograph. It was discovered a 19.2 mag according to MPEC 2013-D41.
This is the 4th. comet
discovery but the
first getting his name only. The other discoveries were made the late Charles
Juels or recently with Michael
Masuyuki Iwamoto - C/2013 E2 (Iwamoto)
CBET 3439 announced the
discovery of a new
comet by Masuyuki Iwamoto ( Awa, Tokushima-ken, Japan) on CCD images
taken on March 10th and 11th using a 100 mm f/4 lens and a Canon EOS 5D
|Copyright: AstroArts/Hiroshi Ando http://www.astroarts.co.jp|
|Copyright: AstroArts/Hiroshi Ando http://www.astroarts.co.jp|
|Copyright: Masuyuki Iwamoto|
C/2013 H1 (LA SAGRA)
in the course of the amateur La Sagra Sky Survey on 2013 Apr. 19. 18m,
coma 15", tail 16", T = 2013 June 1.3726, q = 2.62 AU, (CBET
Gennadii Borisov - C/2013 N4 (Borisov)Ukrainian amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov discovered a brand new comet on July 8 near the bright star Capella in the constellation Auriga. The comet was confirmed and officially christened C/2013 N4 (Borisov) on July 13. At the time of discovery, Borisov was attending the Russian-Ukrainian “Southern Night” star party in Crimea, Ukraine. He nabbed the comet – his first – using an 8-inch (20-cm) f/1.5 wide field telescope of his own design equipped with a CCD camera.
|Copyright: Oleg Bruzgalov|
Copyright Gennady Borisov
|Copyright Gennady Borisov|
Terry Lovejoy - C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy)CBET No. 3649, issued on 2013, September 09th, announced the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~14.4) by Terry Lovejoy on CCD images obtained with a 20-cm f/2.1 Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector on two nights. The new comet has been designated C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy). It is the 4th. discovery. More information about the discovery circumstances can be found here written by Terry Lovejoy.
Michael Schwartz - P/2013 T2 (Schwartz)CBET No. 3676, issued on 2013, October 22, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~18.8) by M. Schwartz on CCD images obtained with the 0.41-m f/3.75 Tenagra III astrograph.
Paulo Holvorcem - C/2013 U2 (Holvorcem)
CBET No. 3683 announced the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~ 19 mag.) by Paulo Holvorcem on CCD images.Personal communication:
C/2013 U2 : discovery images, Size: 1.9 x 2.3 arcminutes.
Copyright Paulo Holvorcem
Gennadii Borisov - C/2013 V2 (Borisov)Personal communication:
Vitali Nevski - C/2013 V3 (Nevski)Vitali Nevski reported the discovery of a comet with a 60" coma on four180-s CCD exposures obtained on Nov. 7, with a 0.2-m f/1.5 reflector (and confirmed with images taken using a 0.4-m f/3 reflector) at the ISON-Kislovodsk observatory near Kislovodsk,Russia.
C/2013 V5 (OUKAIMEDEN)
C/2014 A4 (SONEAR)CBET No. 3783, issued on 2014, January 16, announced the discovery of an apparently asteroidal object (discovery magnitude ~18.1) by Cristovao Jacques, Eduardo Pimentel, and Joao Ribeiro de Barros on CCD images obtained on Jan. 12.0 UT with a 0.45-m f/2.9 reflector of the Southern Observatory for Near Earth Research (SONEAR) at Oliveira, Brazil. The object has been found to show cometary appearance by CCD astrometrists elsewhere and then also by Jacques et al. The new comet has been designated C/2014 A4 (SONEAR). Source.
for the discovery.
|SONEAR staff: Joao Ribeiro (left), Eduardo Pimentel (middle), Cristovao Jacques (right)|
Cristovao Jacques - C/2014 E2 (Jacques)CBET No. 3828, issued on 2014, March 14, announced the discovery of a comet (~ magnitude 14.7) on CCD images taken by C. Jacques, E. Pimentel and J. Barros using a 0.45-m f/2.9 reflector at the SONEAR Observatory near Oliveira, Brazil. The new comet has been designated C/2014 E2 (JACQUES).
|His remarkable list of
Terry Lovejoy - C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy)CBET No. 3934, issued on August 18th. 2014, announced the discovery of a new comet. On August 17th., Terry Lovejoy, Birkdale, Australia discovered his 5th. comet, using a 20cm f/2.1 telescope, equipped with Hyperstar and a QHY9 CCD camera.
Gennadii Borisov - C/2014 Q3 (Borisov)
CBET No.. 3936, issued on 2014, August 24th, announced the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~17) by G. Borisov (Observatory MARGO, Nauchnij). The new comet was found on CCD images obtained with a 0.3-m f/1.5 astrograph telescope, taken on 2014, August 22.02. The new comet has been designated C/2014 Q3 (BORISOV). This is his 3rd. discovery within 13 months !Personal report from the discoverer:
In June I started hunting with my new telescope - GenonMax ( D=300mm, F/D 1.5, FOV 4.8 x 4.8 deg).
August, 22 (01 UT) I detected a diffuse object at the edge of the frame (the edge of the frame, as always :):) ) .
But I had doubts. Fortunately, the object was also detected on the next plaste. ( areas crossed). Exp. 120 sec, Mag 17 R.
I sent the information to the MPC. Two days later, сircular MPEC 2014-Q38 was published.
All images copyright Gennadii Borisov
Gennadii Borisov - C/2014 R1 (Borisov)
CBET No.. 39XX, issued on 2014, Sept. 6th, announced the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~16) by G. Borisov (Observatory MARGO, Nauchnij). The new comet was found on CCD images obtained with a 0.3-m f/1.5 astrograph telescope, taken on 2014, Sept. 5th. The new comet has been designated C/2014 R1 (BORISOV).
Personal report from the discoverer:
Early in the morning September 05 ( 00:10 UT) I found a fairly bright object - 16 mag. in Constellation Cancer. Exp 105 sec. There is no doubt- new comet! And with a short tail !
I send the observations to the MPC ( MPEC 2014-R64).
All images copyright Gennadii Borisov
Friedrich Wilhelm Gerber (1932 - 2014)
On Wednesday October 21st. the German comet discoverer Friedrich Wilhelm Gerber passed away. He discovered several comets during his stay in Argentina in the 1960s. He worked 20 years as pastor near Lucas Gonzalez, Entre Rios. Two comets were named after him as well as 2 other discoverers. 1964 L1 (Tomita-Gerber-Honda) and 1967 M1 (Mitchell-Jones-Gerber). The comets were discovered with small binoculars. He was still an active comet observer especially doing spectroscopic observations of comets. The image shows 3 comet discoverers during a meeting of the German Comet section in 2004. In a personal letter to Maik Meyer he described his 10 discoveries. Due to the remote location and the lack of information only two discoveries were credited to him. He also "discovered" the following comets.
1 Humason 1962 B 1961 f 1962 VIII
2 Ikeya 1 1963 A 1963 a 1963 I
3 Tomita-Gerber-Honda 1964 A 1964 c 1964 VI
4 Ikeya 2 1964 B 1964 1964 VIII
5 Rudnicki 1966 B 1966 g 1967 II
6 Mitchell-Jones-Gerber 1967 C 1967 f 1967 VII
7 Honda 1986 A 1968 c 1968 IX
8 White-Ortiz-Bolelli 1970 B 1970 f 1970 VI
9 Mori-Sato-Fujikawa 1976 A 1975 j 1975
10 West 1976 B 1975 n 1976
Some more details
about his life and
discoveries can be found here
Jäger - Friedrich Wilhelm Gerber - Sebastian Hönig (Copyright unknown)
Leonid Elenin - P/2014 X1 (Elenin)
CBET no. 4034, issued on
14, announced the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~18) by Leonid
Elenin on three CCD images taken on 2014, December 12 with a 0.4-m f/3
astrograph at the ISON-NM Observatory near Mayhill, NM, USA. The new
comet has been designated P/2014 X1 (ELENIN). This
is his third
Gennadii Borisov - C/2015 D4 (Borisov)
CBET no. 4071, issued on 2015
announced the discovery of a new comet by Gennadii Borisov on CCD
images taken with a 0.3-m f/1.5 astrograph telescope. The new comet has
been designated C/2015 D4 (Borisov). This is his
within 20 months. Great performance !
Personal report of the discoverer:
The confirmation of the comet was not very easy. It often happens with discoveries, especially with comet discoveries.
The object was found in the morning on February 23. I sent observations in MPC and they were placed on the confirmation page (PCCP).
Several observers did not see the object on the following night.
Because of the bad astrometry the object significantly shifted from the expected position (the problem of my short-focus telescope GenonMax300 / 1.5)
We had bad weather at that time.
It was a clear night only on February 25 and I tried to find almost lost object.
It was not easy but I managed to see the position of an object with a small tail quite far from the ephemeris. It's fantastic: it is a comet and it exists!
More accurate position data of the object allowed other observers to confirm it.
C/2015 F2 (POLONIA)CBET nr. 4083, issued on 2015, March 26, announces the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~17) by R. Reszelewski, M. Kusiak, M. Gedek and M. Zolnowski on CCD images taken on 2015, March 23 with a remote-controlled 0.1-m f/5 astrograph of the Polonia Observatory at San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, in the course of their comet-search program. The new comet has been designated C/2015 F2 (POLONIA).
Cristovao Jacques - C/2015 F4 (Jacques)
CBET no. 4085, issued on
2015, March 31,
announces the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~16) by C.
on CCD images taken on 2015, March 27.2 by C.
Pimentel and J. Barros with a 0.28-m f/2.2 astrograph at the SONEAR
Observatory (Oliveira, Brazil). The new comet has been
C/2015 F4 (JACQUES). It's his second discovery.
From the discoverer:March was a rainy month and we could only observe in two nights. Most of the time our search is dedicated to NEO survey, but we reserve some time to search for comets in low elongations. At the very end of the night in the last field, we discovered an object of mag. 16.5 using a 280 mm f/2.2 astrograph. The object seemed fuzzy and with a tiny tail and no doubts it was a comet.
Eduardo Pimentel - P/2015 Q2 (Pimentel)
Leonid Elenin - C/2015 X4 (Elenin)
CBET nr. 4216, issued on 2015, December
08, announced the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~18.2) by L.
Elenin on three CCD images obtained with a 0.4-m f/3
reflector at the ISON-NM observatory near Mayhill, NM, USA on Dec. 3.5
UT. The new comet has been designated C/2015 X4 (ELENIN). This is his
Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT - IAU).
Draft Guidelines for Comet Discoveries (Jonathan Shanklin, BAA).
Comet Seeking (William Bradfield, in the page of the ASSA).
David Levy's Home Page (Jarnac Observatory).
Comet Hunting Techniques (Vello Tabur).
Come osservare le comete - La ricerca di comete(Mauro Vittorio Zanotta).
Catalogue of Comet Discoveries Home Page (COCD, Maik Meyer, Germany).
Comet Hunting Resources on the Web (COCD, Maik Meyer).
Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System
LINEAR Program (Lincoln Near
Earth Asteroid Research - MIT) - Not longer in operaion !
Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) Home Page - Not longer in operation !
Lowell Observatory Near-Earth-Object Search (LONEOS) - Not longer in operation !
The Spacewatch Project (University of Lunar Arizona's and Planetary Laboratory)
Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) (University of Arizona)
Spring Survey (SSS) (Australian National
University - University of Arizona) -
in operation !
Siding Spring: Robert McNaught (left) and Gordon Garradd (right) in front of the Uppsala dome and its office (right) in 2003.