Several comets have been discovered recently, none expected to be visible to us. Meanwhile, Comet LINEAR (1999 L3) is presently brighter than expected, positions are presented below. The magnitude predictions are estimates.
Kazimeras Cernis, a visual discoverer of three comets that bear his name, has now found a comet on images produced by the SOHO satellite. The comet was in a retrograde orbit and never got closer to the sun than 4 million miles. No earth-based observations were made of the comet. Perihelion was on Dec. 28. It is named C/1999 Y2.
On Jan. 24, SOHO images yielded yet another comet, a Sungrazer. J.D. Shanklin found it.
The LINEAR program found a comet on Dec. 7, and one each on Jan. 27 and 29. The Spacewatch program found one on Jan. 12. Not to be left out, the Catalina program found a faint comet on Feb. 4.
Comet Hunting Notes: A few amateurs have found comets on the SOHO images. The SOHO webpage carries images that have been quickly inspected for comets. Anyone can inspect the images and search for additional, fainter comets. This reminds me of the Palomar Sky Survey plates from which comets were discovered for decades.
Comet LINEAR (C/1999 L3) Date(00UT) R.A.(2000) Dec El Sky Mag 02-11 08h04.8m +25d29' 156d E 11.2 02-16 07h31.7m +27d32' 143d E 11.4 02-21 07h03.1m +28d51' 132d E 11.6 02-26 06h39.4m +29d38' 122d E 11.8 03-02 06h20.2m +30d03' 113d E 12.0 03-07 06h05.0m +30d16' 104d E 12.2 03-12 05h53.0m +30d22' 97d E 12.5 03-17 05h43.7m +30d24' 90d E 12.7 03-22 05h36.6m +30d24' 83d E 12.9 03-27 05h31.1m +30d23' 77d E 13.1 04-01 05h27.1m +30d23' 71d E 13.2 04-06 05h24.1m +30d23' 66d E 13.4
Object: LINEAR (C/1999 L3) Peri. Date: 2000 01 04.9101 Peri. Dist (AU): 1.988921 AU Arg/Peri (2000): 353.2987 deg. Asc. Node (2000): 140.1609 deg. Incl (2000): 166.0993 deg. Eccen: 0.974292 Orbital Period: 680 years Ref: MPC 37478 Epoch: 2000 02 26 Absol. Mag/"n": 7.8/4.0Don Machholz, (530) 346-8963, DonM353259@aol.com
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