Comet discoverers & Comet
discoveries by amateurs
2020 - now
Last update: 14. November 2023
|Discoveries from 1978 to 1999||Discoveries from 2000 to 2009
||Discoveries 2010 to 2019
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 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.
I also used information from the website of Maik Meyer. Giuseppe Pappa (giuseppe.pappa->>alice.it)
added information to the early
Sad news arrived on March 5th. Roy Tucker,
discoverer of 2 comets and many asteroids, including 99942 Apophis,
passed away at the age of 70 years.
Again, sad news for the Comet community. On August 13th. Carolyn S. Shoemaker discoverer of 32 comets and many more asteroids passed away at the age of 92 years.
Another sad news I noticed in 2022, was the death of William Liller, discoverer of C/1988A1 Liller on February 28th. 2021.
Sad news arrived on January 12th. on the MPML mailinglist. Comet discoverer Eric W. Elst passed away on January 2nd. at the age of 85. He discovered thousands of asteroids and an asteroid that turned into a comet, known as 133P/Elst-Pizarro.
Sad news arrived on August 9th. on the comets-ml that Don Machholz died due to complications with COVID 19 at the age of 69. He discovered 12 comets and co-invented the Messier Marathon.
SONEAR staff: Cristovao Jacques (left), Eduardo Pimentel (middle), Joao Ribeiro (left)
CBET 4972 & MPEC 2021-L11, issued on 2021, June 02, announces the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~19.0) on CCD images taken by A. Maury and G. Attard on May 09.3 UT with the 0.28-m f/2.2 Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt astrograph at San Pedro de Atacama, Chile in the course of the MAP (W94) survey. The new comet has been designated C/2021 J1 (Maury-Attard). This is the first comet discovery for Alain Maury as amateur and the first one for Georges Attard. Alain Maury discovered 3 comets (115P/Maury, C/1988 C1 Maury-Phinney and 198P/ODAS (named after the survey name) as a professional astronomer.
Comment from the discoverer: The comet was detected during my new search program "Northern sky survey". A new star like object it was discovered on three CCD frames taken on June 08.90616 UT (Tel. D=0.65m, F/1.5, FLI ML9000, FOW 2x2 deg, exp: 300 sec) in the constellation of Cepheus. The information was sent to the MPC as a new NEO gb00279. Two days later, the stacked images show the cometary shape and the object was moved to PCCP.
On the discovery of C/2021 O1 Nishimura
Translated by Shigeki Murakami
Hideo Nishimura, age 72
Kakegawa City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
2. Site and date
Date and time of shooting: 2021 07 21.78306 (UT), 2021 07 22 3:47 (JST) (1), Exposure time 15 seconds
Observing site: Tea plantation: Gomyo, Kakegawa City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
EOS 6D, 200mm f/3.2 Telephoto lens
Equatorial mount: Takahashi EM200
4. Summary of the discovery
I have completed a nova hunting session, which is my major target of searching, and I still had an extra time. Then, I conducted a comet hunting session in the northeastern sky, and I was lucky enough to shoot a green glowing comet. I checked the position and I wondered if it was an outburst of 8P Tuttle. However, I found the position was different from that of 8P by some 2°, and reported as it a possible new comet.
5. Discovery course
I concentrated on the visual searching of comet until around 2000, and was able to meet a new comet (2). After that I have come to interest in a nova hunting, and I kept searching spending 90% of my activity for nova hunting and 10% for comet.
It was cloudy at dusk on the day before the discovery, and could not take photos for nova hunting in the Milky Way Galaxy. So, on the day I got up at 1:30a.m. local time and headed for the tea plantation where a quarter-hour of drive from my residence. Most part of the summer Milky Way was in the western sky, and I started shooting the Milky Way at 2:08a.m. up to around the constellation of Cassiopeia.
As there was enough time until the start of the twilight, I began to take photos to search for a comet from the southeastern sky, and put the northeast on the backburner where I photographed the day before at predawn.
At the low altitude the sky grew brighter when the shooting area got close to the northeastern sky, and I hurried to take photos with shorter exposure time. Eventually, I finished the hunting session at 4a.m. leaving some planned area to be searched.
I got home and tried to detect objects that are not in the past images using my PC, among which I checked if there was any new object. I noticed a non-stellar object seemingly having some apparent diameter just before the end of the checking work. I thought that I identified a known comet again, and I confirmed using MP checker but no comet was detected.
To make sure what it was I adjusted the brightness of the image using Photoshop Elements and the green star appeared that is typical for a comet.
I emailed Syuichi Nakano, an Associate of the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams and the Minor Planet Center, in Sumoto, Japan, that reported the object is a new comet without doubt. I calmed down and I confirmed if there were any known comets around the position. I found that 8P Tuttle being brightening was near the possible new comet. Immediately, I told Nakano the fact and he said the predicted position of 8P was different from that of the object of interest by some 2°. I remeasured the position of the possible new comet.
Nakano reported the position to IAU and the new comet had been confirmed.
I think back to the situation with a cool head, and I found I was pretty lucky. If I had taken the photo a little bit earlier, the comet would not have been photographed due to the low altitude from the horizon, i.e., the unadjusted image looked like an overexposure photo taken in the daytime. Conversely, if I had shotten a little later, it would have been disappeared in the twilight.
Note of translator
(1) The beginning of the twilight on the day was 3:09a.m. JST (local time). That meant Nishimura took the photo 38 minutes after the start of the twilight.
(2) Nishimura discovered his first comet in 1994: C/1994 N1 Nakamura-Nishimura-Machholz.
CometWatch March 2021 Special with David Levy & Carolyn Shoemaker https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEwafVtiwt4Astropedia from 2002: https://astrogeology.usgs.gov/people/carolyn-shoemaker as PDF
CBET 5064 issued on 2021, Nov. 02, announces the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~19.0) on CCD images taken by G. Attard and A. Maury on Octl. 24th. with a 40 cm reflector at San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. The new comet has been designated C/2021 U3 (Attard-Maury). This is the second comet discovery from this team.
Discovery image, Copyright A. Maury, G. Attard, D. Parrott
Animation C/2021 U3
MPEC 2022 J33 and CBET 5119 issued on 2022, May 05th. announces the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~19.5) on CCD images taken by G. Attard and A. Maury on Dec. 2nd. with a 0.28-m f/2.2 RASA Astrograph in the course of the "Maury, Attard, Parrot" (MAP) survey project. Unfortunately only 2 names are allowed. Daniel Parrott is the developer of the software Tycho-Tracker without many of the discoveries were not be possible. This is the third comet discovery from this team.
Hello all, these are sad news. I met Eric several times in the last 2 decades of the last century when he was observing minor planets with the 1m-telescope at Hoher List observatory (017). At that time I was a younger amateur astronomer who was also guest visiting Hoher List for doing comet photography with the Askania Schmidt camera or with our own small telescopes which were housed in a small movable hut we built there. That was at times when we still used hypered Technical Pan film. Eric already used CCD cameras and invited me to join him in the control room of the 1m-telescope. These were fruitful nights of discussion and I can say that it was him who arouse my interest in astrometry and minor planets. I will never forget him. Kind regards Bernd Klemt, b. BrinkmannHello to all, Eric Elst from 1986 to 2002, discovered thousands of asteroids of which 3,760 of them were definitively numbered, not to mention 108 other small planets co-discovered with others astronomers. I have kept up to date his list of 3868 definitively referenced asteroids from 2002 to this day. The last asteroid assigned to him was the West Trojan (483400) 1997 LY13. He also was honored on the asteroid (3936) Elst discovered by the Van Houten couple, other great discoverers of asteroids. Eric was also a great musician and a philosopher attracted by the writings of the enlightenment, writings he distilled in his review "Le petit cuistre". Like others, I had met Eric for the first time in 2002 during the MACE (Meeting on Asteroids and Comets in Europe) meetings organized by Korado Korlevic from 2002 to 2010. We had sympathized and we had been together many times during the past 20 years. Cordially Gerard FaureHello all I would like to inform you that the most prolific individual minor planet discoverer died, aged 85. Eric W. Elst (1936 - 2022) started working at the Royal Observatory of Belgium in 1968… I was pleased to have met Elst at the 1991 ACM meeting in Flagstaff, who I knew not only as an asteroids/comet person, but perhaps mainly as a kindred spirit amongst us folks who do a lot of telescopic observing. His extensive work on short-period pulsating variables, not mentioned in the obit, was a significant part of his early career. Brian Skiff
Picture of the comet (7968) Elst-Pizarro taken from the La Silla Observatory, Chili, in August 1996.
CBET 5121 issued on May 11th. reports the discovery of a new comet, discovered by Alain Maury, Georges Attard and Daniel Parrott on images taken on May 5th. with a 0.28-m f/2.2 RASA Astrograph.
This is the forth comet discovery from this team.
Discovery telescopes, Copyright A Maury
CBET 5304 issued on 2023, October 21, announces the discovery of a new comet Borisov on CCD images taken on October 14th. This is his 12th. comet.
Comment from the discoverer:
From the discoverer:
The story of finding xkos369 - later
comet C/2023 V4
From Moonbase South Observatory L87 - Grzegorz private facility located in Namibia -
a project called: "Moonbase South Observatory - Comet and Neo Searching Project" (MSO-CaNeSP) was lauched in June 2022. This project first used one, and from Sept. 2023 two telescopes with a 0.28 m main mirror (Celestron C11 - SCT) in a configuration with a Starizona Hyperstar f/1.9 and a full frame CMOS cameras with a Sony IMX455 sensor from ZWO, model ASI 6200MM-P.
A few hours before the session of MSO-CaNeSP started on Nov. 4th. Jordi prepared part of the observing plan for the scopes we use for this project. Grzegorz prepared the observatory for work and launched observation plans for both C11 scopes, also adding some new fields to search for comets in the vicinity of the Milky Way in accordance with the general plan. The data from both scopes was constantly downloaded to a computer in Sweden. This PC analyzes the data looking for potential new moving objects. Jordi usually check the obtained data processed by the Tycho program installed on it and does measurements and reports observations as well new objects, mostly NEOs to the MPC. In the early morning on Nov 5, the material from one of the scopes that was processed by the Tycho program. Searching area marked as "Field-A15" showed an unknown slowly moving object that looked more like a little comet with a short tail...
Jordi did astrometrical measurements and sent the MPC report as new NEO Candidate and contacted Grzegorz. Very soon together they came to the conclusion that they were dealing with a comet because of its cometary appearance and soon sent the cometary activity report as well. Next night we could take additional pictures of this object with C14 scope also from L87. Those images showed very clear the coma and short tail.
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).
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).
Pan-STARRS Panoramic Survey Telescope &
Rapid Response System
The Spacewatch Project (University of Lunar Arizona's and Planetary Laboratory)
Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) (University of Arizona)
The LINEAR Program (Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid
Research - MIT, 1998 - 2005) - Not longer in operation !
Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) Home Page - (1995 - 2007) Not longer in operation !
Lowell Observatory Near-Earth-Object Search (LONEOS) - (1993 - 2008) Not longer in operation !
Siding Spring Survey (SSS) (Australian National University - University of Arizona, stopped in 2013) - Not longer in operation !
Siding Spring: Robert McNaught (left) and Gordon Garradd (right) in front of the Uppsala dome and its office (right) in 2003.