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176P/LINEAR

Past, Present, and Future Orbits by Kazuo Kinoshita

Discovery

     The Lincoln Laboratory Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) project discovered this object on 1999 September 7 using a 1-meter telescope in Socorro, New Mexico. It was completely asteroidal in appearance and orbital calculations revealed it was moving within the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It subsequently received a temporary minor planet designation of "1999 RE70". Interestingly, the cometary nature was not recognized until 2005 November 26, when H. H. Hsieh and D. C. Jewitt (University of Hawaii, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA) photographed the object using the Gemini North 8-meter reflector as part of a program to monitor members of the Themis family of minor planets for cometary activity. Their image revealed a tail 7 arc seconds long. Images obtained on 2005 December 24-27 by the University of Hawaii's 2.2-meter telescope and on December 29 by the Gemini North reflector confirmed the presence of a tail.

Historical Highlights

  • orbital information
  • cometography.com