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213P/Van Ness

Past, Present, and Future Orbits by Kazuo Kinoshita

Francois Kugel image of 213P exposed on 2011 July 7
Copyright © 2011 by Francois Kugel (France)

This image was taken on 2011 July 7.02 UT, using a 50-cm reflector and a CCD camera. Besides an obvious tail, there is also a faint indication of the dust lying along the comet's orbit.


     M. E. Van Ness (Lowell Observatory, Arizona, USA) found this comet on three images obtained on 2005 September 10 using the 59-cm LONEOS Schmidt and a CCD camera. The images were obtained between September 10.41 and 10.45. The magnitude was given as 17.0 and the "moderately condensed elongated coma" was 20 arc seconds across with a fan-shaped tail extending 245 arc seconds in PA 240 degrees. The first independent confirmation came from P. D. Kyrylenko, O. Gerashchenko, V. Lokot, and Y. Ivashchenko (Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory, Ukraine) when their images with a 0.6-m reflector and CCD camera on September 10.8 revealed a magnitude of 16.3-16.5 and a tail extending 2 arc minutes in PA 250 degrees. Prediscovery observations were identified on images obtained by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program (New Mexico, USA). These were obtained with the 1.0-m reflector and CCD camera, and included five images between August 4.39 and August 4.43, four images between August 16.39 and August 16.44, and five images between August 31.33 and August 31.38. The comet appeared stellar on these images. The nuclear magnitude was given as 17.8-19.3 on the 4th, 18.6-19.4 on the 16th, and 18.5-20.1 on the 31st.

Historical Highlights

  • The first orbit was published by Brian G. Marsden (Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams) on 2005 September 11. Using 31 positions obtained from 2005 August 16 to September 11, this revealed the comet was moving in a short-period orbit with a perihelion date of 2005 February 11.02 and a period of 6.42 years. Marsden revised his calculations on September 17. He took 72 positions from the period of August 4 to September 14 and determined a perihelion date of February 10.44 and a period of 6.37 years. This proved an excellent representation as, following the comet's recovery in 2009, a new orbit for the 2005 apparition revealed a perihelion date of February 10.08 and a period of 6.34 years.
  • The comet was last detected on 2007 January 27, when E. Reina (Masquefa Observatory, Spain) obtained three images.
  • Apparition of 2011: This comet was recovered by Gary Hug (Sandlot Observatory, Kansas, USA) on 2009 January 31.36 and January 31.39. He was using a 56-cm reflector and CCD camera. Hug gave the nuclear magnitude as 20.7-21.0. Hug obtained additional images on February 1.34 and February 1.36 before announcing his recovery. He then gave the nuclear magnitude as 20.6-20.7. His positions indicated the predicted perihelion date was in error by -0.06 day. On the night of July 4/5, Francois Kugel obtained images of the comet using his 50-cm reflector and a CCD camera. After stacking nine 120-second exposures, he noted a possible trail of dust marking the orbital path of the comet. This was subsequently confirmed by images acquired by Kugal on July 7 and 12.
  • cometography.com