Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Recovery of comet P/2002 S1 = P/2009 L18 (SKIFF)

CBET nr.1913, issued on 2009, Aug. 18, announces our recovery of P/2002 S1 = P/2009 L18 (SKIFF).

Our quest for this faint (magnitude about 20 at the time of recovery) periodic comet, started about two months ago, when we had several attempts to locate it in the southern costellation of Indus, by means of the remotely-controlled Skylive-Grove Creek main telescope (a 0.35-m, reflector + CCD located near Trunkey, NSW, Australia).

Finally we found it on 2009, June 15.6, about 1.7 arcmin northeast of the ephemerids position, and nearly 1.3 magnitudes fainter than predicted.

We performed a second night of follow-up on Jun. 17.6, however at that time the comet was projected over a field star, so we couldn't find it. Afterwards we had a row of bad weather, moonlight interference, personal problems, ect, that prevented us to perform a second night of astrometry, until Aug. 18.6, when we successfully imaged again P/2002 S1 through the same instrumentation. At that time the comet was about 1.8 arcmin northeast of ephemerids, nearly 1.5 magnitudes than predicted. On both observing runs, we found the comet of starlike aspect, without any appreciable coma and/or tail.

Our last image of this comet is available here:

According to CBET nr.1913, this object will reach its perihelion (q~ 2.4 AU) on 2010, Aug. 15. The ephemerids generated at the Minor Planet Center website inform us that P/2009 L18 (SKIFF) will reach its maximum brightness at perigee, on the beginning of next November 2010 (about magnitude 17).

Its last astrometric report before our recovery was performed on 2003 Apr. 07.89 by Peter Birtwhistle, from the Great Shefford Observatory (MPC#J95).

Giovanni Sostero, Ernesto Guido, Paul Camilleri and Enrico Prosperi


Nick's Astronomy Blog said...

Nice Work folks i'm following via my blog and via google reader :)

Team said...

Dear Nick

Thanks for your kind words, greatly appreciated.