Copyright © 1979 by Charles T. Kowal
DISCOVERY IMAGE: This photo was
obtained by C. T. Kowal (Palomar Observatory, California, USA) on 1979
July 24.21. The comet trailed during the exposure. North is up, while
east is to the left. (Special thanks to Charles T. Kowal for allowing
me to use this image).
T. Kowal (Palomar Observatory, California, USA) found images of this
comet in late August of 1979 on photographic plates exposed one month
earlier with the 1.20-m Schmidt telescope. The earliest image was
obtained on July 24.21, while two additional images were obtained on
July 25.21 and July 27.22.
This comet was
discovered by the Lincoln Laboratory Near-Earth Asteroid Research
(LINEAR) project on 2001 September 12.26 and was reported as a minor
planet of magnitude 19.1. It was subsequently found on additional
LINEAR images obtained on August 25. After the orbit was well
established, a prediscovery image was found on a plate exposed with the
1.2-m Schmidt at Siding Spring (Australia) on 1990 September 23.
Apparition of 1979:
Three images of the comet were found on plates exposed over a period of
four days, but these images were not found until more than a month had
passed. Two days after the initial announcement, B. G. Marsden
calculated a parabolic orbit with a perihelion date of 1978 January
23.28 and provided an ephemeris covering the period of August 15 to
September 24. He noted, "It is rather probable that the comet is a
short-period one." Marsden added that if the comet was periodic, the
ephemeris could be uncertain by up to one degree. No further
observations were acquired.
Apparition of 2002:
This "minor planet" was observed off and on for the next two years,
following its discovery. Then on 2003 November 26.4. A. E. Gleason
(Kitt Peak Observatory, Arizona, USA) imaged the object with the 0.9-m
Spacewatch reflector and noted a condensed coma 6 arc seconds across that
exhibited a tail extending 18 arc
seconds toward PA 265°. The Minor Planet Center made
a request for confirmation and J. Young (Table Mountain Observatory,
California, USA) obtained a CCD image on November 27 which revealed a
coma 4 arc seconds
across and a broad, faint tail extending 12 arc seconds toward PA
265°. Knowing that this was now a comet that should be
detectable throughout its orbit, a search was made for older images.
Soon images were reported at Siding Spring from 1990 September 23 and
at Palomar Observatory from 1993 November 11. On December 2, S. Nakano
linked this comet to the lost comet reported by Kowal back in 1979.
Copyright © 1990 by Siding Spring Observatory
This image is a prediscovery
image found after the orbit had been established. It was obtained at
Siding Spring (Australia) on 1990 September 23. The image was found and
subsequently measured by R. Stoss. The comet is the small, round, and
diffuse object in the center.