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Comet C/2002 O6
SWAN

The first two SWAN images from July 25 and 28
Copyright © 2002 by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

These are the two images from the SWAN instrument aboard SOHO that M. Suzuki found the comet on.

Discovery

M. Suzuki (Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan) discovered this comet while looking at publicly accessible images obtained with the SWAN instrument on the SOHO spacecraft. The comet was first identified on the July 25 and 27 images and was then located on further images from July 13. Alan Hale (Cloudcroft, New Mexico) visually confirmed the comet on August 1.45, while using a 20-cm reflector. He estimated the magnitude as 9.5 and gave the coma diameter as 4 arcmin. The observation was made in weak twilight, as well as moonlight. J. Broughton (Reedy Creek, Australia) obtained CCD images with a 25-cm reflector on August 1.73 and was able to provide the first precise positions.

Historical Highlights

  • The first parabolic orbit was published on by the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams on August 3. It used 46 positions obtained during the period of August 1 to 3. The perihelion date was given as 2002 September 9.42, while the perihelion date was 0.49 AU. A revision on August 7 basically confirmed the general correctness of the first orbit.
  • The comet passed closest to Earth on August 9 (0.26 AU). The comet was situated in the morning sky, but was not at a great altitude. Subsequently, although observations were easily made with 7x35 and 7x50 binoculars, observers trying to see the comet with the naked eye reported it was "suspected" or "not definitely seen." Total magnitude estimates on August 7, 8, and 9, were typically between 6 and 6.5, while the coma was 10 arcmin across. The comet was then moderately condensed, while the tail was faintly seen extending westward.

  • Additional Images


    Michael Jäger photograph of Hoenig on August 17
    Copyright © 2002 by Michael Jäger (Austria)

    This photograph was obtained by Michael Jäger on 2002 August 17.09. It is a 5-minute exposure obtained with a 25-cm Schmidt camera and hypered Kodak TP film.


    Michael Jäger photograph of Hoenig on August 18
    Copyright © 2002 by Michael Jäger (Austria)

    This photograph was obtained by Michael Jäger on 2002 August 18.09. It is a composite of a 6-minute and 4-minute exposure obtained with a 25-cm Schmidt camera and hypered Kodak TP film.

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