LCOGT Faulkes Telescope R. Miles

January 3rd and 4th at the Faulkes Telescope North Observatory, observations were made of the first Russian comet. With the help of the 2-meter Faulkes telescope, detailed images of the coma and tail of the comet were obtained. On the image at left, the wide tail of the comet can be seen with a length on the order of 16 arc seconds, and also the internal coma with a size of 8×9 arc seconds. At the time of the photograph, the comet was 545 million km from the Earth (3.65 a.u.).

The orbit of the comet itself is still not completely clear. It is already known that C/2010 X1 will have a close perihelion (~0.48 a.u.) in the middle of September 2011. The comet will reach maximum brightness (mag. 4-6) in the middle of October when it has already passed conjunction with the Sun. On the other hand, the eccentricity of the comet’s orbit is still not precisely determined, and is taken as “one” (parabolic orbit). After additional observations, the comet’s orbit will either become elliptical with a period of hundreds or thousands of years, or with e>1, the orbit will be considered hyperbolic, which means the comet may leave our Solar System forever.

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