Copyright © 1998 by Akimasa Nakamura (Kuma Kogen Astronomical Observatory, Japan)
Jean Mueller (Palomar Observatory, California, USA) first announced the discovery of this comet on 1998 October 17. She found it on plates exposed on October 14.26 with the 1.2-m Oschin Schmidt telescope in the course of the Palomar Outer Solar System Ecliptic Survey. The magnitude was estimated as 17 and the comet exhibited a strong condensation and a faint tail. The comet was confirmed by R. Gal (Palomar Observatory) on October 17. Upon receiving information about the new discovery, G. V. Williams (Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams) noted that the rate and direction of motion was similar to a minor planet reported by the Lincoln Laboratory Near Earth Asteroid Research team (LINEAR) in New Mexico. This object has been found on CCD images exposed on September 26 and 27. They had estimated the magnitude as between 18.1 and 18.6. The identity of the LINEAR and Mueller objects was quickly confirmed by J. Tiché and M. Tichy (Klet Observatory) on October 17. They noted the object appeared diffuse, with a coma near 13 arcsec in diameter and a faint tail extending about 30 arcsec toward PA 210°. Following an improvement of the orbit, Williams found that the comet had been detected on September 17 by the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search (LONEOS). It had then been reported as a minor planet of magnitude 17.3.
Copyright © 1998 by J. V. Scotti (SPACEWATCH, Arizona, USA)