Archive for June, 2011

MPC statistic for May – June 2011

The new monthly MPC circular released – MPC 75107- 75354.

ISON-NM statistic for the previous month (May 14 – June 8):

Number of measurements: 4366

Measured objects: 1076

Discovered objects: 25

Sky coverage: 330 sq. degrees

Observing nights*: 20

* – include partial nights

Comet Elenin – half-year since it’s discovery

L. Elenin

Today, June 10, 2011, is six months since the discovery of the first comet in the modern history of Russia. During this time our knowledge about the comet has greatly changed. In the first days after the comet’s discovery, the comet’s orbit did not inspire interest; C/2010 X1 (Elenin) was going to be a faint comet, visible only to telescopes equipped with CCD cameras. But after only the first week of observations, hope was growing that this comet might have a close perihelion, which was later confirmed.

Now we know that the comet will come practically as close as the orbit of Mercury to the Sun and will possibly become visible to the unaided eye. It is unlikely to become a Great Comet, but for me, as its discoverer, it has already become a momentous event. My dreams of many years have been realized.

During the last six months the comet has aroused a lot of interest among the people of the Earth; among the huge number of letters about the end of the world, I also received those about people who became interested in astronomy and observing, who bought telescopes and discovered for themselves the beauty of the night sky. This is possibly the most important effect caused by my comet. Of course the comet poses no threat to the Earth and all the rumors will end when it starts moving away from the Earth and Sun. The same thing happened with the famous comet Hale-Bopp and will be repeated more than once in the future.

I ran the calculations of the orbit for the period from 2011 to 15,000. Of course, in such a long time interval, the accuracy of the calculations will be limited but quite acceptable for a general understanding of the orbital parameters of Comet C/2010 X1. At aphelion the comet will be ~1030 AU from the Sun and will not return toward the Sun until the 8th century of the 14th millennium…

So hurry and see it!

The brightest comet of the decade may discovered!

J. Scotti

Minor Planet Center just issued a circular about new comet discovered by Pan-STARRS survey. Comet was designated as C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) and it may be a very bright comet on 2013! The orbit is not accurate, but it’s already clear that the new comet have closer perihelion  than the comet C/2010 X1 (Elenin) – about 0.36 AU.

The comet could reach magnitude 1-2 in April 2013. By the rough forecast, C/2011 L4 can be the Great Comet, and reach 0 magnitude or brighter. In March 2013, C/2011 L4 will be about 1 AU from the Earth. This is in 4 times distant than the comet Elenin.

Vacation time!

During the next two weeks I’ll be on vacation and may not be able to answer your questions. It’s not a conspiracy! It’s just a summer 🙂

While I’ll leave, our telescope will also take a shower and go through annual service.

Have a good vacation, see you soon!

First comet of Tenagra observatory

ISON-NM / L. Elenin

May 26th a long-time dream of my good friend Michael Schwartz came true. After long searches he finally discovered a comet, receiving the designation C/2011 K1 (Schwartz-Holvorcem).  Likewise, Michael’s long-time collaborator Paulo R. Holvorcem was directly involved in the discovery of the comet, working with the observatory software, as well as handling personnel.

The comet was discovered in the course of a planned survey, near the antisolar point, although in the Milky Way, which, of course, made the discovery more difficult. This explains the fact that C/2011 K1 had already passed perihelion in April 2011 at a distance of ~3.3 a.u. and is now already moving away from the Earth. Most likely the new comet is a long-period comet, although its period is not yet precisely known. It is also interesting that the inclination of the comet’s orbit is on the order of 120 degrees, i.e. its movement is retrograde. It’s location in the Milky Way also made determining its cometary nature more difficult. C/2010 K1 always was found between stars or in their vicinity.

Still, several observatories, including ours, were able to confirm that the new object, is nothing other than a new comet. Once again, I congratulate it’s discoverers!

June 2011
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