Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Comet: P/2011 NO1

Cbet nr.2768, issued on 2011, July 19, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude 19.5) by L. Elenin and I. Molotov on four 240-s unfiltered CCD exposures taken remotely with a 0.45-m f/2.8 astrograph at the ISON-NM observatory near Mayhill, NM, USA, on July 7.3 UT. Elenin and Molotov reported the new object with "slight apparent cometary appearance". The new comet has been designated P/2011 NO1.


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 with the Faulkes-Telescope South while it was still listed in the NEOCP.

Stacking of 13 R-filtered exposures, 20-sec each, obtained remotely, from the Faulkes Telescope South at Siding Spring on 2011, July 12.5, through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD under good seiing conditions, shows that this object has a slight cometary activity: small coma about 2" in diameter, elongated toward the southwest with a narrow tail 3" long toward PA 250.


Our confirming image (click for a bigger version):



M.P.E.C. 2011-O10 assignes the following preliminary orbital elements to comet P/2011 NO1: T 2011 Jan. 22.01; e= 0.78; Peri. =264.06; q = 1.24 AU; Incl.= 15.03

This object was announced by T. Spahr as a minor planet on MPEC 2011-O09 while a CBET was being prepared to announce it as a comet, and he assigned the designation 2011 NO1 to it.

by Giovanni Sostero, Nick Howes & Ernesto Guido

Friday, July 8, 2011

New Comet: C/2011 N2 (McNAUGHT)

IAUC nr.9220, issued on 2011, July 07, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude 17.9) by R. H. McNaught with the 0.5-m Uppsala Schmidt telescope at Siding Spring, on images obtained on 2011, July 04.46. McNaught reported "the object shows a 10" circular coma with moderate condensation". The new comet has been designated C/2011 N2 (McNAUGHT).

This object was found to show cometary appearance by our team after initial posting on the Minor Planet Center's 'NEOCP' webpage. We performed some follow-up measurements of this object with the Faulkes-Telescope South while it was still listed in the NEOCP.

"Faulkes Telescope Project" recently introduced a new "Exciting Targets" section in its educational program. Thanks to this project, the schools participating in the Faulkes project can contribute real science using their observing time to image interesting objects on behalf of the astronomers.

We are grateful to the "Ryton Comprehensive School" for taking up our request to image this object, allowing us to use their images along with our own to reveal the cometary nature of this body.

Analysis of Bessel-R filtered exposures, 20-sec each, obtained remotely, from the Faulkes Telescope South on 2011, July 5.4, through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD, shows that this object is comet: diffuse coma at least 5" in diameter, possibly elongated along a north-south direction.


Our confirming image (click for a bigger version):



M.P.E.C. 2011-N31 assignes the following preliminary orbital elements to comet C/2011 N2: T 2011 Oct. 9.79; e= 1.0; Peri. =353.29; q = 2.69 AU; Incl.=34.89

C/2011 N2 is the 63th comet discovery for R. H. McNaught!!

by G. Sostero, N. Howes, E. Guido & Ryton Comprehensive School

New Comet: P/2011 N1

IAUC nr.9219, issued on 2011, July 07, announces that an apparently asteroidal object (discovery magnitude 19.9) reported by Ignacio de la Cueva, Ibiza, Spain (from exposures taken by J. L. Ortiz, P. Santos-Sanz, N. Morales, and himself with a 0.40-m f/3.7 reflector at San Pedro de Atacama, Chile) was found to show cometary appearance after initial posting on the Minor Planet Center's 'NEOCP' webpage. The new comet has been designated P/2011 N1

We performed some follow-up measurements of this object while it was still listed in the NEOCP. Stacking of 20 R-filtered exposures, 30-sec each, obtained remotely, from the Faulkes Telescope South on 2011, July 7.7, through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD, shows that this object is a comet: elliptical coma measuring about 7" x 4", elongated toward west, with a sharp central condensation. Tail nearly 10" long toward PA 270


Our confirming image (click for a bigger version):



M.P.E.C. 2011-N29 assignes the following preliminary orbital elements to comet P/2011 N1: T 2012 May 30.02; e= 0.54; Peri. =330.23; q = 2.87 AU; Incl.=35.69


by Giovanni Sostero, Nick Howes and Ernesto Guido

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bright Sungrazing Comet on July 05, 2011

A new bright comet diving into the Sun is visible right now (July 05, 21UT) in C3 and C2 images taken by SOHO spacecraft. This object belong to the famous Kreutz-group, a family of sungrazing comets that are named after German astronomer Heinrich Kreutz who first studied them in the details. These comet fragments passes extremely close to the Sun at perihelion and usually they completely evaporated during such a close approach.


C2 Image - July 05, 2011 (click to see a bigger version)


(Credit : SOHO)



C3 & C2 Movies - (click on the thumbnails to see a bigger version)








(Credit : SOHO)


You can read more details about latest bright SOHO comets here:

http://remanzacco.blogspot.com/2011/05/bright-sungrazing-comet-on-may-10-11.html
http://remanzacco.blogspot.com/2010/11/bright-sungrazing-comet-on-november-17.html
http://remanzacco.blogspot.com/2010/11/bright-sungrazing-comet-on-1314.html
http://remanzacco.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-bright-sungrazing-comet.html
http://remanzacco.blogspot.com/2010/04/new-bright-sungrazing-comet.html
http://remanzacco.blogspot.com/2010/01/bright-sungrazing-comet.html
http://remanzacco.blogspot.com/2010/01/new-sungrazing-comet.html
http://remanzacco.blogspot.com/2010/03/new-sungrazing-comet.html



UPDATE - July 08, 2011

For the first time ever, SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) captured a 20-minute movie of the comet streaking directly in front of the sun. It's not immediately obvious, but if you watch the movie closely, you'll see a line of light appear in the right and move across to the left.

Below you can see the incredible movie captured by SDO's AIA instrument (click here or here or on the thumbnail to see the video).




(Credit: NASA SDO)


While by clicking here you can see a beautiful LASCO/SOHO view of this Kreutz comet!!

by Ernesto Guido

Friday, July 1, 2011

Unusual asteroid 2011 MM4

M.P.E.C. 2011-N02, issued on 2011, July 01, announces the discovery of a intriguing new object (discovery magnitude 21.1) by the Pan-STARRS survey with their PS1 1.8-m Ritchey-Chretien + CCD, on images obtained on 2011, June 24.4. This new object has been designated 2011 MM4.

We performed some follow-up measurements of 2011 MM4 while it was still listed in the NEOCP with the 2.0-m Haleakala-Faulkes Telescope North on June 30.4 and July 01.4, 2011.

Stacking of twenty-one R-filtered exposures, plus seven V-filtered exposures, 60-sec each, obtained remotely, from the Haleakala-Faulkes Telescope North on 2011, July 1.4, through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD under good seeing conditions, shows that this object has the same FWHM (1.3 arcsec) of the nearby field stars having similar brightness.

Even if this object has no signs of any obvious coma in our images, it is very interesting due to his peculiar comet-like retrograde orbit. According to the very preliminar orbit published on discovery MPEC, 2011 MM4 is actually ~13.5 AU (with aphelion around 25 AU) from the sun, eccentricity =0.43, P=64.3 years, H=9.4 and it has an inclination of 99 degree.


Our confirmation image (click on the image to see a bigger version)



by Nick Howes, Giovanni Sostero and Ernesto Guido