Monday, May 23, 2011

New Comet: C/2011 J3 (LINEAR)

IAUC nr.9209, issued on 2011, May 20, announced the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude 19.7) by the LINEAR survey through their 1.0-m f/2.15 reflector + CCD, on images obtained on 2011, May 14.3 The new comet has been designated C/2011 J3 (LINEAR).

After posting on the Minor Planet Center's 'NEOCP' webpage, this object has been found by several CCD astrometrists to show cometary appearance. We performed some follow-up measurements of this object while it was still listed in the NEOCP, on 2011 May 18.4 remotely from the Tzec Maun Observatory.

Stacking of 34 unfiltered exposures, 60-sec each, obtained remotely on 2011, May 18.4 from the Tzec Maun Observatory (near Mayhill, NM) through a 0.4-m, f/9 reflector + CCD, shows that this object is a comet: very diffuse coma nearly 12 arcsec in diameter, with an extremely uncertain central condensation, that hampers a precise astrometric measurement.

Our confirming image (click for a bigger version):

MPEC 2011-K11 assignes the following preliminary orbital elements to comet C/2011 F1: T = 2011 Jan. 21.20; e= 0.88; Peri. = 24.81; q = 1.40 AU; Incl. = 114.81

According to COCD webpage, this is the 204th comet discovery for LINEAR Survey.

by Giovanni Sostero & Ernesto Guido

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