Friday, October 28, 2011

Recovery of comet 171P/Spahr

On October 19.5, 2011 we started an observing session to recover the periodic comet 171P/Spahr. T. B. Spahr (then at University of Arizona, Arizona, USA - now Director, Minor Planet Center) discovered this comet with the 0.41-m f/3 Schmidt telescope in the course of the Catalina Sky Survey on 1998 November 16.39.

We found an object of magnitude ~20.6 with the following offset from the nominal position of comet 171P (RA 2.5'W  DEC 0.6'S). We found again the same object on October 20.5 & October 24.5. A faint possible tail, about 20-arcsec long toward North-East is visible. We imaged it remotely with the 2.0-m f/10 from the Siding Spring-Faulkes Telescope South.

Below you can find our recovery image of October 24, 2011:


While below you can see an animation showing the movement of the comet (click on the thumbnail for a bigger version):


Before our recovery, comet  171P/Spahr was last observed on February 06, 2006.

by Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero, Nick Howes & Antoni Kasprzyk

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