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Past, Present, and Future Orbits by Kazuo Kinoshita

DSS2 image of 152p exposed on 1995 October 19
Copyright © 1993-2000 by the Anglo-Australian Observatory Board

In the course of the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) Southern Equatorial R Survey, the 1.2-m UK Schmidt at Siding Springs Observatory (New South Wales, Australia) accidently photographed this comet on 1995 October 19.58. The exposure was 75 minutes in length. The faint trail of the comet is just left of center and was located very close to the edge of the plate. This image was obtained through SkyMorph at the Goddard Space Flight Center.


     E. Helin and K. Lawrence (Palomar Observatory, California, USA) discovered the diffuse trails of this comet on photographic film exposed by Helin, Lawrence, and M. Nassar with the 46-cm Schmidt telescope on 1993 May 17.44 and May 19.35. The total magnitude was given as 16.5 on the first date, and the comet was described as diffuse with a central condensation. Helin, Lawrence, and Nassar found prediscovery images on film exposed with the 46-cm Schmidt on April 21.49 and April 22.49. The magnitude was then estimated as 17.0.

Historical Highlights

  • Shortly after the comet's announcement on 1993 June 2, B. G. Marsden took 9 positions obtained during the period spanning April 21 to June 4 and calculated an elliptical orbit. He gave the perihelion date as 1993 June 18.06 and the period as 9.44 years. Ultimately, the orbit was found to have a perihelion date of June 30.35.
  • R. H. McNaught (Siding Spring, Australia) spotted the comet during the total lunar eclipse on June 4. He was using the Uppsala Southern Schmidt telescope and estimated the magntitude as 16. The comet was followed until 1997 December 30.48, when it was detected at Mauna Kea (Hawaii, USA).
  • The comet was recovered on 2001 December 24.86 by T. Oribe (Saji Observatory) using the 1.0-m reflector. The magnitude was given as 19.5 and the position was within 2 arc seconds of the prediction published by Marsden. Oribe added that the coma was 0.15 arc minute across, while the tail extended 8 arc seconds toward PA 295°. An independent recovery was also made by K. Sarneczky and Z. Heiner (Piszkesteto) on 2002 January 11.19 using the 0.6-m Schmidt. The magnitude was given as 20, while the comet was described as diffuse, with a coma 8 arc seconds across, and a faint, narrow tail extending 13 arc seconds toward PA 283°. These positions also confirmed that the single-night observation made by C. W. Hergenrother and D. Means (Kitt Peak, Arizona, USA) on 2001 January 23 with the 2.3-m reflector was this comet. The comet was then described as stellar, with a magnitude of 21.5.
  • The comet is next expected to arrive at perihelion on 2012 July 9.
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