Friday, August 5, 2011

Fragmentation event in 213P/Van Ness

Today, during our observing session with Faulkes Telescope North we observed a fragmentation event in comet 213P/Van Ness.

Stacking of five exposures, 120-sec each, obtained remotely from the Haleakala-Faulkes Telescope North on 2011, Aug. 5.5, through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD + Bessel-R filter, under good seeing conditions, shows the presence of a secondary fragment embedded in the tail of comet 213P/Van Ness. This object, we named "parte-b", was placed about 5.3 arcmin in PA 239, with respect to the central condensation of the comet. It shows a tiny coma nearly 5-arcsec in diameter, with a tail of at least 22-arcsec in PA 235. Its m1 is R about 20, while its central condensation has R about 21.

A confirmatory observing session with the same set-up, has been obtained on 2011, Aug. 5.6: stacking of six exposures, 120-sec each shows again the fragment in the expected position, moving with the same proper motion of the comet.

Below you can see our total stacked image of comet 213P/Van Ness and its fragment (click on the image for a bigger version):

Comet 213P shows also an obvious anti-tail, or dust-trail, at least 6-arcmin long in PA 58. Below our rendition of this feature, obtained during the same observing session (click on the image for a bigger version):

by G. Sostero, H. Blyth, N. Howes and E. Guido

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