|Past, Present, and Future Orbits by Kazuo Kinoshita|
The discovery of an apparently asteroidal object was reported by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program (New Mexico, USA) on 2002 February 7.47. The magnitude was given as 20.1. Three additional images using the same telescope on that night revealed a stellar object of magnitude 19.6-20.0. LINEAR obtained four more positions on February 11, which revealed a stellar object of magnitude 19.2-19.6. The first observation indicating this was a comet was made on March 19.01, when M. Tichy and M. Kocer (Klet Observatory, Czech Republic) photographed the comet using the 106-cm reflector and a CCD camera. They described the object as diffuse and 13" across. Additional confirmation came on March 22.94 and March 22.96, when G. Masi and F. Mallia (Campo Catino, Italy) obtained images using the 80-cm reflector and CCD camera. They noted a faint, diffuse coma that extended about 30" toward PA 330 degrees.