Saturday, August 22, 2009

Unusual aspect of Comet 217P

Prompted by an alert note posted today by David Cardeñosa on [Comets-ml] about the unusual aspect of 217P/LINEAR he recorded in his images of this comet obtained on 2009, Aug 22.1, we performed some follow-up about 217P remotely, through a 0-25-m, f/3.4 reflector + CCD (near Mayhill, NM).

Co-adding of 12 unfiltered exposures, 120 seconds each, obtained on 2009, Aug. 22.4, confirms the presence of a highly structured coma. The central condensation appears sharp, and elongated in a West-East direction. A spiralling arclet about 1.5 arcmin long is emanating from the central condensation in clockwise direction.

We notice the presence of two distinct tails: one about 1.8 arcmin long in PA 245 deg, and a second one, about 2 arcmin long in PA 236 deg.

Our image is available here:

We notice that the current aspect of 217P, is striking similar to that of comet 73P-fragment B, at the time of its repeated outburst/splitting events occured in May 2006, e.g.:

by Ernesto Guido & Giovanni Sostero

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