Skip Navigation: Avoid going through Home page links and jump straight to content

Comet Comments

clrbar.gif

COMET COMMENTS

Don Machholz
December 8, 1996

Comet Hale-Bopp passes north of the sun and into the morning sky on Dec. 31. Observers with a low eastern horizon should be able to pick it up again by the third week of January.

In the past few weeks stories of "mysterious" objects in the vicinity of the comet have circulated. The most popular - a Saturn-like Object (SLO) imaged on Nov. 14 by an amateur astronomer - turned out to be nothing other than an 8.5 magnitude star. Other similar objects that I've seen on Internet images appear to be out-of-focus images of bright stars. In all respects Comet Hale-Bopp is behaving as an average comet. It is bigger than perhaps any comet we have seen, but its variable brightness, tails and jets are normal. If anything mysterious truly appears, you will find it reported in the mainstream press, and in most cases be able to go outside and see it yourself through your telescope.

Meanwhile, Comet Tabur dims in our morning sky. Its magnitude has been unpredictable lately. Periodic Comet Wirtanen is returning. The Hubble Space telescope imaged it in August 1996 and "measured" the nucleus' diameter to be 1.16 km. Finally, Periodic Comet Wild 2 should be visible for several months.

	EPHEMERIDES
	C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp)
Date(00UT) R.A. (2000) Dec        El    Sky     Mag
12-08   18h11.6m        +00o18'   29o    E        3.9
12-13   18h17.3m        +01o03'   28o    E        3.7
12-18   18h23.4m        +01o53'   27o    E        3.5
12-23   18h29.9m        +02o49'   27o    E        3.3
12-28   18h36.7m        +03o51'   27o    E        3.1
01-02   18h44.0m        +05o01'   28o   M         2.9
01-07   18h51.7m        +06o18'   29o   M         2.7
01-12   19h00.0m        +07o45'   31o   M         2.5
01-17   19h08.9m        +09o22'   32o   M         2.2
01-22   19h18.5m        +11o11'   34o   M         1.9
01-27   19h29.0m        +13o13'   36o   M         1.7
02-01   19h40.5m        +15o29'   38o   M         1.4
02-06   19h53.4m        +18o01'   40o   M         1.1
02-11   20h07.8m        +20o50'   41o   M         0.7

	C/1996 Q1 (Tabur)
Date(00UT) R.A. (2000) Dec        El    Sky     Mag
12-08   15h59.9m        +19o46'   45o   M       10.6
12-13   16h03.5m        +18o08'   46o   M       10.9
12-18   16h06.7m        +16o39'   47o   M       11.2
12-23   16h09.5m        +15o19'   48o   M       11.5
12-28   16h11.8m        +14o07'   50o   M       11.8
01-02   16h13.8m        +13o02'   53o   M       12.0
01-07   16h15.4m        +12o05'   56o   M       12.2
01-12   16h16.4m        +11o13'   59o   M       12.4
01-17   16h16.9m        +10o27'   62o   M       12.6
01-22   16h16.9m        +09o47'   66o   M       12.8
01-27   16h16.2m        +09o11'   70o   M       13.0
02-01   16h14.7m        +08o39'   75o   M       13.1
02-06   16h12.5m        +08o11'   80o   M       13.3
02-11   16h09.5m        +07o46'   85o   M       13.4

		46P/Wirtanen
Date(00UT) R.A. (2000) Dec        El    Sky     Mag
12-08   21h53.2m         -24o24'  66o    E      13.3
12-13   22h02.7m         -23o13'  64o    E      13.1
12-18   22h12.6m         -21o58'  61o    E      13.0
12-23   22h23.1m         -20o37'  59o    E      12.8
12-28   22h34.1m         -19o11'  57o    E      12.6
01-02   22h45.5m         -17o40'  55o    E      12.4
01-07   22h57.4m         -16o02'  53o    E      12.2
01-12   23h09.8m         -14o19'  52o    E      12.0
01-17   23h22.6m         -12o30'  50o    E      11.8
01-22   23h35.9m         -10o34'  49o    E      11.6
01-27   23h49.7m         -08o33'  48o    E      11.4
02-01   00h03.9m         -06o26'  47o    E      11.2
02-06   00h18.7m         -04o13'  46o    E      11.1
02-11   00h34.0m         -01o54'  45o    E      10.9

		81P/Wild 2
Date(00UT) R.A. (2000) Dec        El    Sky     Mag
12-08   08h21.0m        +16o38' 133o    M       12.5
12-13   08h22.3m        +16o36' 137o    M       12.3
12-18   08h22.9m        +16o36' 142o    M       12.1
12-23   08h22.7m        +16o41' 147o    M       11.9
12-28   08h21.7m        +16o49' 153o    M       11.7
01-02   08h19.9m        +17o02' 158o    M       11.6
01-07   08h17.4m        +17o18' 164o    M       11.4
01-12   08h14.3m        +17o38' 170o    M       11.2
01-17   08h10.6m        +18o01' 176o    M       11.0
01-22   08h06.5m        +18o27' 177o    E       10.9
01-27   08h02.3m        +18o54' 172o    E       10.8
02-01   07h58.2m        +19o22' 166o    E       10.6
02-06   07h54.3m        +19o49' 159o    E       10.5
02-11   07h51.1m        +20o16' 154o    E       10.4



		ELEMENTS
Object                  Hale-Bopp               Tabur   
Peri. Date              1997 04 01.13453        1996 11 03.52688
Peri. Dist (AU)         0.9141030 AU            0.8398272 AU
Arg/Peri (2000):        130.59083 deg.          057.40724 deg.
Asc. Node (2000):       282.47069 deg.          031.40177 deg.
Incl (2000)             089.42936 deg.          073.35813 deg.
Eccen:                  0.9950969               0.9989006
Orbital Period:         ~4700 years             Long period
Ref:                    MPC 28052               MPC 28052
Epoch:                  1997 03 13              1996 11 13
Absol. Mag/"n":         -2.0/4.0                9.5/4.0

Object                  P/Wirtanen              P/Wild 2
Peri. Date              1997 03 14.14299        1997 05 06.62789
Peri. Dist (AU)         1.0637469 AU            1.5826156 AU
Arg/Peri (2000):        356.34322 deg.  041.77000 deg.
Asc. Node (2000):       082.20387 deg.  136.15458 deg.
Incl (2000)             011.72255 deg.  003.24276 deg.
Eccen:                  0.6567490               0.5402220
Orbital Period:         5.46 years              6.39 years
Ref:                    MPC 27080               MPC 28272
Epoch:                  1997 03 13              1997 04 22
Absol. Mag/"n":         9.0/6.0                 7.0/6.0

DonM353259@aol.com.             Don Machholz    (916) 346-8963

comethome.gif Comet Hale-Bopp Home Page

clrbar.gif