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Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 Split?



Sky & Telescope News Bulletin
December 22, 1995

Evidence is mounting that the nucleus of Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 has split into as many as four parts. Observations by German astronomers on December 12th and 13th show at least four bright points in the nuclear region, and they suggest that the comet's big outburst in September may have signaled the breakup. Meanwhile, the overall brightness has dimmed from about magnitude 7.0 in mid-November to 8.5 right now. As evening twilight ends, Comet SW3 is 20 to 30 degrees above the south-southwestern horizon, depending on your latitude, tucked in the southwest corner of the constellation Aquarius. Here are 2000 coordinates for 0 hours Universal Time for the coming week:

               R.A. (2000) Dec.
December 24   22h  8m   -21.1 dg
         26   22  14    -20.4
         28   21  20    -19.8

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