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Arquiola image of C/2001 HT50 exposed on 2003 January 7
Copyright 2003 by A. P. Arquiola (Argentina)

This image was obtained by Adrián Paulo Arquiola and Fernando Emilio Arquiola on 2003 January 7.15. The image was obtained with a 15.0-cm f/12 refractor and a CCD camera. The magnitude was estimated as 11.


An object discovered by LINEAR on 2001 April 23.22 and reported as asteroidal with a magnitude of 18.4, was given the minor planet designation of 2001 HT50. It was confirmed by LONEOS on April 26. S. Pravdo, E. Helin and K. Lawrence (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) reported that NEAT had found a possible comet on CCD images obtained with the 1.2-m Schmidt telescope at Palomar Observatory on May 14.22. The nuclear magnitude was given as 18.3. Prediscovery images were quickly found by T. B. Spahr (Minor Planet Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts), the earliest being that reported by LINEAR on March 3.37.

Historical Highlights

  • The first published orbit was calculated by B. G. Marsden (Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams). It used 25 positions obtained during the period spanning March 3 to May 14 and calculated a parabolic orbit with a perihelion date of 2003 July 8.42 and a perihelion distance of 2.80 AU. The orbit was eventually found to be elliptical with a perihelion date of 2003 July 9.01 and an orbital period of about 41 thousand years.
  • cometography.com