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Past, Present, and Future Orbits by Kazuo Kinoshita

Mobberley image of 154P exposed on 2002 November 26
Copyright (c) 2002 by Martin Mobberley (Suffolk, England)

Martin Mobberley obtained this image on 2002 November 26.78 using a 0.3-m LX200 and an ST9xe CCD camera. The image is a 120-second exposure.


Howard J. Brewington (Cloudcroft, New Mexico, USA) discovered this comet with his 40-cm reflector on 1992 August 28.41. He gave the magnitude as 10 and described the comet as "very small and diffuse." A. Sugie (Dynic Astronomical Observatory) confirmed the discovery on August 28.74 using a 25-cm Schmidt. He estimated the magnitude as 13 and described the comet as very faint and diffuse. Since his last comet discovery on 1991 December 24, Brewington had spent 99 hours comet hunting before finding this comet.

Historical Highlights

  • The first published orbit came on September 1, when B. G. Marsden (Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams) calculated a parabolic orbit using 11 positions from August 28 to 31. The perihelion date was given as 1992 June 20.97. Marsden considered the orbit "somewhat uncertain." Following S. Nakano's (Sumoto, Japan) remark "that the comet is evidently of short period", Marsden calculated an elliptical orbit that was published on Septebmer 27. Using 18 positions obtained during the period of August 28 to September 26, he determined the perihelion date as June 4.05 and the period as 8.65 years. Ultimately the comet proved to have a period of 10.72 years.
  • Observers indicated the comet faded fairly slowly at first, with T. Seki (Geisei, Japan) giving the magnitude as 11.3 on August 29, C. S. Morris (Pine Mountain Club, California, USA) giving it as 11.5 on August 30, A. Hale (Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA) giving it as 11.5 on August 31, and H. Mikuz (Ljubljana, Slovenia) giving it as 11.2 on September 8. On August 29th, Seki also noted a coma 3.5 arc minutes across and a tail extending 5 arc minutes toward PA 300°. The comet faded thereafter, with Mikuz giving the visual magnitude as 14.4 on October 9. Seki continued to follow the comet photographically with his 60-cm reflector and estimated the magnitude as 16 on October 5, 27, and 30, and 17.5 on December 31. Observers at Spacewatch (Kitt Peak, Arizona, USA) continued to follow the comet during 1993 January and March. They gave the total magnitude as 17.4-17.5 on January 24 and 19.9 on March 30. The final observation was made on March 30.
  • Syuichi Nakano published a new orbit, as well as a prediction for the return of this comet, on 2000 May 12 in Nakano Note no. 707. He took 82 positions obtained during the period spanning 1992 August 28 to 1993 March 30 and applied perturbations by Mercury to Neptune, as well as the minor planets Ceres, Pallas, and Vesta. The result was that the comet passed perihelion on 1992 June 7.79. Nakano then integrated the motion forward and predicted the comet would next arrive at perihelion on 2003 February 18.84.
  • Apparition of 2003: This comet was recovered by Fernanda Artigue, Herbert Cucurullo, and Gonzalo Tancredi (Molinos Astronomical Observatory, Montevideo, Uruguay) on 2002 August 26.98, in the course of the Búsqueda Uruguaya de Supernovas, Cometas y Asteroides (BUSCA) project. They were using a 46-cm telescope and a CCD camera. The comet was described as a centrally condensed, diffuse coma about 20 arc seconds across. A confirmation by the BUSCA group on August 27.98 also indicated the magnitude was 16.8. The precise positions indicated Nakano's prediction was only 0.53 day early. The comet was expected to reach a maximum magnitude of 10.5 at the 2003 apparition, but visual observers at the end of February and beginning of March reported magnitudes within the range of 11.5 to 12.5. The comet remained small and weakly condensed throughout the apparition.
  • cometography.com