Periodic Comet Machholz 2 is fainter than expected, but might still be glimpsed in our evening sky. It will return every 5.2 years but will not be well-placed until the year 2015.
The Catalina Sky Survey found a faint comet on Nov. 5. It is now pulling away from the sun. Meanwhile, old data from the SOHO satellite was used to find a comet that appeared in May 1997.
Comet Hunting Notes: As we head into the new year the visual comet hunter faces competition from programs designed to find comets and asteroids that may hit us. Is there any need for the visual comet hunter? The consensus seems to be that amateurs will still find comets but at a much reduced rate. Searching for over 1,000 hours may become commonplace. Areas near the sun, especially in the morning sky, should yield the greatest number of visual discoveries.
141P/Machholz 2 Date(00UT) R.A. (2000) Dec El Sky Mag 12-08 20h19.5m -11d29' 50d E 11 12-13 20h42.5m -11d41' 50d E 11 12-18 21h08.2m -12d04' 50d E 11 12-23 21h37.7m -12d38' 52d E 11 12-28 22h12.2m -13d21' 55d E 11 01-02 22h53.4m -14d07' 59d E 11 01-07 23h42.1m -14d41' 65d E 11 01-12 00h37.6m -14d41' 72d E 12 01-17 01h36.0m -13d52' 81d E 12 01-22 02h32.0m -12d15' 90d E 12 01-27 03h21.3m -10d11' 98d E 12 02-01 04h02.5m -08d11' 103d E 13 02-06 04h36.3m -06d00' 108d E 13 02-11 05h03.9m -04d12' 110d E 13
Object: P/Machholz 2 Peri. Date: 1999 12 09.2752 Peri. Dist (AU): 0.748905 AU Arg/Peri (2000): 149.2991 deg. Asc. Node (2000): 246.1434 deg. Incl (2000): 012.8116 deg. Eccen: 0.751075 Orbital Period: 5.22 years Ref: MPC 35815 Epoch: 1999 12 08 Absol. Mag/"n": ??/??Don Machholz (530) 346-8963 DonM353259@aol.com.
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