|Vello Tabur (Wanniassa, Australian Capital Territory) discovered this comet in Eridanus on 1996 August 19.70. He was using a 0.20-m reflector. The comet was then described as magnitude 10, with a little-condensed, circular coma 3 arcmin across. Tabur had a difficult time convincing the proper authorities that he had found a comet. After thoroughly checking several sources, he sent an e-mail to the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams, the clearinghouse for comet discoveries, that morning. He checked his e-mail throughout the day, but failed to hear anything about the comet. Finally at 1:00 a.m. (local time) he received a message from the e-mail delivery system that said his e-mail was deleted because it could not be delivered. A short time later, Tabur asked Steve Johnston to drive with him to Williamsdale to help observe the comet. It didn't take long to confirm that it had moved.
The next day was a stressful one. Tabur received phone calls from Dave Herald and Jack Child stating that their searches for the comet had revealed nothing. A short time after this news, Dan Green of the Central Bureau called and said others had failed to find the comet. That night, Tabur arranged for several members of the Canberra Astronomical Society to meet him at Williamsdale at 2:30 a.m. (local time). He sweated as the skies grew more cloudy as that time approached, but, before he left home, he checked his e-mail one last time and received word that the comet had been confirmed.
H. Mikuz (Crni Vrh Observatory, Slovenia) was the first to confirm the comet when his CCD image revealed the comet as 4.5 arcmin across, with a total magnitude of 11.1 on the 21st. Alan Hale (New Mexico) independently confirmed the comet a few hours later. His 0.41-m reflector revealed a coma 3.5 arcmin across, with a total magnitude of 10.0. Soon afterward, the comet was officially designated C/1996 Q1 (Tabur).
This is one of the earliest images of the comet. It is a 200-second exposure obtained by Gordon Garradd (Loomberah, Australia) on 1996 August 24.74 using a 0.25-m f/4.1 Newtonian and a HI-SIS 22 CCD camera. North is up and the image covers an area of 9 by 7 arcmin. The false color palette fails to reveal a tail, but does show a strong condensation.