Thursday, February 6, 2020

New Comet C/2020 B3 (Rankin)

MPEC 2020-C111, issued on 2020, February 06, announces the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~20) by D. Rankin in the course of the Mt. Lemmon Survey (G96), in images taken on 2020, Jan 29 with a 1.5-m reflector + 10K CCD. The new comet has been designated C/2020 B3 (Rankin).  

I performed follow-up measurements of this object while it was still on the PCCP webpage. Stacking of 16 unfiltered exposures, 120 seconds each, obtained remotely on 2020, February 03.2 from X02 Telescope Live (El Sauce, Chile) through a 0.6-m f/6.5 astrograph + CCD, shows that this object is a comet   with a compact coma about 5" in diameter slightly elongated toward PA 250.

My confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version)


MPEC 2020-C111, assigns the following preliminary orbital elements to comet  C/2020 B3: T 2019 Oct. 22.8; e= 0.98; Peri. =  325.92; q = 3.35;  Incl.= 20.75

Below you can see the discovery animation:

Credits: D. Rankin; Catalina Sky Survey

Congrats to David Rankin for this discovery!!

by Ernesto Guido

Monday, January 6, 2020

New Comet C/2019 Y1 (ATLAS)

CBET 4708 & MPEC 2020-A72, issued on 2020, January 05,  announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~18) in the course of the "Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System" (ATLAS) search program, in images taken on 2019, Dec 16 with a 0.5-m reflector + CCD. The new comet has been designated C/2019 Y1 (ATLAS).  

I performed follow-up measurements of this object while it was still on the PCCP webpage. Stacking of 28 unfiltered exposures, 30 seconds each, obtained remotely on 2019, December 20.15 from X02 Telescope Live network (El Sauce, Chile) through a 0.6-m f/6.5 reflector + CCD, shows that this object is a comet with a sharp central condensation and a diffuse irregular coma about 15 arcsec in diameter elongated in PA 90.

My confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version)



M.P.E.C. 2020-A72, assigns the following preliminary orbital elements to comet  C/2019 Y1: T 2020 Mar. 15.54; e= 1.0; Peri. =  57.20; q = 0.84;  Incl.= 73.40

Neither the MPEC nor the CBET mention the relationship that has been pointed out by R. J. Bouma in comets-ml mailing list about this comet and the "LILLER" group (comets C/1988 A1 Liller, C/1996 Q1 Tabur, C/2015 F3 SWAN).


by Ernesto Guido

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Comets & Asteroids - Summary for Nov & Dec 2019

During the 2-month period November through December 2019, 4 new comets were discovered and there was 1 comet recovery. "Current comet magnitudes" & "Daily updated asteroid flybys" pages are available at the top of this blog (or just click on the underline text here). See below for the "Other news" section.

The dates below refer to the date of issuance of CBET (Central Bureau Electronic Telegram) which reported the official news & designations.

- Comet Discoveries

- Cometary activity detected

- Comet Recoveries

- Other news

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Comets & Asteroids - Summary for Sept & Oct 2019

During the 2-month period September through October 2019, 9 new comets were discovered, cometary activity was detected for 1 previously discovered object (earlier designated as asteroids) and there were 6 comet recoveries. "Current comet magnitudes" & "Daily updated asteroid flybys" pages are available at the top of this blog (or just click on the underline text here). See below for the "Other news" section.

The dates below refer to the date of issuance of CBET (Central Bureau Electronic Telegram) which reported the official news & designations.

- Comet Discoveries

Sep 10 Discovery of C/2019 Q3 (PANSTARRS)            (CBET 4665)
Sep 12 Discovery of C/2019 Q4 (BORISOV)                 (CBET 4666)
Oct 05 Discovery of P/2019 S2 (PANSTARRS)             (CBET 4673)
Oct 05 Discovery of P/2019 S3 (PANSTARRS)             (CBET 4674)
Oct 16 Discovery of C/2019 T3 (ATLAS)                       (CBET 4678)
Oct 23 Discovery of C/2019 T4 (ATLAS)                       (CBET 4681)
Oct 23 Discovery of C/2019 T5 (ATLAS)                       (CBET 4682)
Oct 24 Discovery of P/2019 T6 (PANSTARRS)             (CBET 4684)
Oct 28 Discovery of P/2019 U4 (PANSTARRS)             (CBET 4688)




- Cometary activity detected

Oct 06 Cometary activity detected in 2018 DO4 =  C/2018 DO_4 (LEMMON)  (CBET 4675)

- Comet Recoveries

Sep 08 Recovery of P/2007 T4 (GIBBS) as P/2019 R2                   (CBET 4662)
Sep 09 Recovery of P/2008 Y1 (BOATTINI) as P/2019 R1            (CBET 4663)
Sep 27 Recovery of P/2006 R1 (SIDING SPRING) as P/2019 S1  (CBET 4671)
Oct 25 Recovery of P/2006 W1 (GIBBS) as P/2019 U1                 (CBET 4685)
Oct 28 Recovery of P/2006 F1 (KOWALSKI) as P/2019 U2          (CBET 4686)
Oct 28 Recovery of P/2004 WR_9 (LINEAR) as P/2019 U3          (CBET 4687)

- Other news

Sep 04 New paper on Arxiv by D. Jewitt & J. Luu: "Disintegrating In-Bound Long-Period Comet C/2019 J2".

Credit: Jewitt & Luu

Sep 16 Analysis of a bright flash in Jupiter’s atmosphere observed by an amateur astronomer in August 2019 has revealed that the likely cause was a small asteroid with a density typical of stony-iron meteors. The impact is estimated to have released energy equivalent to an explosion of 240 kilotons of TNT – around half the energy released in the 2013 Chelyabinsk event at Earth.

Credit: E. Chappel/R. Hueso


Oct 07 Saturn Surpasses Jupiter After The Discovery Of 20 New Moons. A team led by Carnegie's Scott S. Sheppard has found 20 new moons orbiting Saturn.  This brings the ringed planet’s total number of moons to 82, surpassing Jupiter, which has 79. 

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/Sartorio/Shutterstock

Oct 08 The 2019 #NobelPrize in Physics has been awarded with one half to James Peebles “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology” and the other half jointly to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz “for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star”.

Credit: Mayor & Queloz

Oct 28 Beautiful images from VLT/SPHERE of the fourth biggest asteroid, Hygiea, found a big surprise: an almost spherical shape. It was hit in the past by a big impact which shattered and reassembled it while still fluid.

Credit: Vernazza et al.


by Ernesto Guido

Thursday, October 31, 2019

V659 SCUTI = NOVA SCUTI 2019

Following the posting on the Central Bureau's Transient Object Confirmation Page about a possible Nova in Scutum (TOCP Designation: PNV J18395972-1025415) I performed some follow-up of this object through a TEL 0.6-m f/6.5 astrograph + CCD located in the El Sauce Observatory in Chile and operated by Telescope Live network.  

On images taken on October 31.01, 2019 I can confirm the presence of an optical counterpart with R-filtered CCD magnitude about +8.4 (saturated in a 10-second exposure) at coordinates:

R.A. = 18 39 59.71, Decl.= -10 25 41.9

(equinox 2000.0; Gaia DR2 catalogue reference stars for the astrometry).

This transient was discovered (discovered magnitude 11.5 g-Sloan Filter) by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN) on 2019 Oct. 29 at 01:12UT and reported to Transient Name Server (TNS) on Oct. 29 at 02:07:49 UTC as ASASSN-19aad = AT 2019tpb. According to CBET 4690, several independents discoveries have been reported to the Central Bureau of a nova in Scutum: Koichi Nishiyama (unfiltered magnitude 9.4 on Oct. 29.397), Hideo Nishimura (unfiltered magnitude 9.8 on Oct. 29.421), Shizuo Kaneko (unfiltered magnitude 9.8 on Oct. 29.462) (on AAVSO VSX is reported also Fujio Kabashima as independent discoverer). 

Spectroscopy by S. C. Williams et al. (see ATel #13241) & by  M. Pavana et al. (see ATel #13245) show that AT 2019tpb/ASASSN-19aad is a Galactic nova in the early stages of eruption.

N. Samus writes that the permanent GCVS designation V659 Sct has been assigned to this nova.

Below my confirmation image (sum of two unfiltered 30-sec exposure through a 0.6-m f/6.5 astrograph + CCD; El Sauce Observatory, Chile). Click on the image for a bigger version: 




An animation showing a comparison between my image and the archive POSS1 Blue plate (1951-07-30).



Below the same animation with a larger field of view. At the bottom left of V659 Sct you will notice a star occupying a different position in the new image with respect to the 1951 archive image. This star (Gaia designation DR2 4155146598548456064) is a high proper  motion star. Most stars are so distant that their apparent motion even over hundreds of years is all but negligible to naked eye observers. Some stars have very significant movements compared to the background stars (Click on it for a bigger version:


Below an image that is the difference between the new image and the archive image useful to highlight the "new" objects. There you can easily see the new galactic nova V659 Sct and the  high proper motion star.



by Ernesto Guido

Monday, September 30, 2019

Comet Images from the Dark Sky Of Chile

Below you can find a selection of some of the comets we imaged in the last few days using remotely a Planewave Telescope CDK24 a 0.61-m f/6.5 reflector + CCD located in the El Sauce Observatory in Chile. The telescope is owned by "TELESCOPE LIVE" network and we would like to thank them for allowing us to use their telescope for these images free of charge. Click on each image for a bigger version.


68P/Klemola  - 2019, September 27



29P/Schwassmann–Wachmann -  2019, September 27



101P/Chernykh - 2019, September 30



C/2017 U7 - 2019, September 30



C/2016 M1 (PANSTARRS) - 2019, October 06



by Ernesto Guido

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Comets & Asteroids - Summary for July & August 2019

During the 2-month period July through August 2019, 7 new comets were discovered and there were 4 comet recoveries. "Current comet magnitudes" & "Daily updated asteroid flybys" pages are available at the top of this blog (or just click on the underline text here). See below for the "Other news" section.

The dates below refer to the date of issuance of CBET (Central Bureau Electronic Telegram)  which reported the official news & designations.

- Comet Discoveries

Jul 01 Discovery of C/2019 L3 (ATLAS)                  (CBET 4644)
Jul 02 Discovery of C/2019 K7 (SMITH)                  (CBET 4645)
Jul 02 Discovery of C/2019 K8 (ATLAS)                  (CBET 4646)
Jul 03 Discovery of C/2019 LB_7 (KLEYNA)           (CBET 4647)*
Jul 15 Discovery of C/2019 N1 (ATLAS)                  (CBET 4650)
Jul 17 Discovery of P/2019 M2 (ATLAS)                  (CBET 4651)**
Jul 18 Discovery of C/2019 M3 (ATLAS)                  (CBET 4653)


*The available astrometry for this very faint object was published on MPEC 2019-N20, where it was inadvertently given the minor-planet designation 2019 LB_7 by the Minor Planet Center.

**Following a private remark by the D. Green that the orbital elements of comets D/1884 O1 (Barnard) and P/2019 M2 are similar, Nakano has attempted an investigation into the possibility that the two designations might refer to the same comet. Nakano remarks that he is unable to link the two orbits, suggesting that (while possibly related) the two comets seem to be different objects. Additional astrometry for P/2019 M2 is urgently needed to extend the arc of observations at this return, before the comet fades rapidly in the coming weeks.(CBET 4657)

- Comet Recoveries

Jul 06 Recovery of P/2006 S1 (CHRISTENSEN) as P/2019 M1     (CBET 4649)
Jul 17 Recovery of 39P/OTERMA                                                   (CBET 4652)*
Jul 28 Recovery of P/2014 U2 (KOWALSKI) as P/2019 O1          (CBET 4654)
Aug 09 Recovery of P/2010 U2 (HILL) as P/2019 P1                    (CBET 4658)

*Recovery of comet 39P/Oterma (magnitude 24) on CCD images taken on July 3 UT with the 8.1-m "Gemini South" telescope, with confirmatory follow-up images being obtained on July 5 using both the 8.1-m "Gemini South" and the 6.5-m Magellan-Clay telescopes.  A point-source object was located within 1" of an ephemeris generated by the orbit given on MPC 75716.An upper bound of the nucleus radius -- based on photometry of the July 3 and 5 individual 100-s r' images and assuming a 4-percent albedo -- is between 2.1 and 2.5 km.  This upper bound is lower than what would be derived from 2001 photometry reported on MPCs 43260 and 43446 (2.5-3.5 km), suggesting that there might have been a compact coma in those observations and/or that 39P has an elongated nucleus.The comet was last seen in 2001 (cf. IAUC 7689). Comet 39P is currently inbound with perihelion in 2023. The comet was missed at its 1983 return.

- Other news


Jul 08 Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) spotted an unusual asteroid with the shortest "year" known for any asteroid. The rocky body, dubbed 2019 LF6, is about a kilometer in size and circles the sun roughly every 151 days. In its orbit, the asteroid swings out beyond Venus and, at times, comes closer in than Mercury, which circles the sun every 88 days. 2019 LF6 is one of only 20 known "Atira" asteroids, whose orbits fall entirely within Earth's. In the images below you can see an animation showing the asteroid as captured by ZTF on June 10 and how the orbit of 2019 LF6 (white) falls entirely within the orbit of Earth (blue).


Credit: ZTF/Caltech Optical Observatories



Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Jul 12 ATel #12931 Disintegration of Comet C/2019 J2 (Palomar) - Quanzhi Ye et al. report the apparent disintegration of comet C/2019 J2 (Palomar), first detected by Soulier and Sárneczky on images taken on UT 2019 July 6-7. After receiving the reports from Soulier and Sárneczky, Ye examined the images taken with the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) operated on the 1.2-m Oschin Schmidt telescope at Palomar Observatory. The ZTF image on July 9 shows that the comet has lost its central condensation. Although the disintegration only becomes apparent at some time between the ZTF observation on July 2 and the Maisoncelles/Konkoly observation on July 6, ZTF photometry suggests that the process likely started much earlier, possibly in early May. The brightness of the comet increased by ~0.6 mag from Apr. 27 to May 9, then decreased by an equal amount from May 9 to Jul. 2, while a typical comet would have brightened by 1.0 mag from Apr. 27 to Jul. 2.

Jul 29 Austrian filmmaker Christian Stangl combined some of the more than 400,000 images taken by @ESA's Rosetta mission into a stunning short film: "the Comet". Together the images show details of Comet 67P, which Rosetta followed and researched for 2 years.



Aug 07 On July 24, asteroid 2019 OK (60-130 meters in size; discovered by SONEAR team @CrisJacques)  approached Earth at about 65,000 km above the surface, one fifth the distance to the Moon. Largest Asteroid To Pass This Close To Earth in a Century

Credits: P. Chodas (NASA/JPL)

Aug 08 A possible impact on Jupiter recorded on 07 August 2019 at 04:07 UTC by E. Chappel. This is not the first time that we have seen something slam into Jupiter. It's actually the seventh event of its kind in recent years. More info about past recent events are available here

Credits: E. Chappel


Credits: E. Chappel

Aug 17 Fireball over Sardinia, Italy on the evening of August 16, 2019 via @ClaudioPorcu - More video available here  #meteor #meteora #astronomy #astronomia #Sardegna

Credits: C. Porcu

Below you can see a map showing the trajectory in the atmosphere projected to the ground of this bolide. The triangulation was done using 6 visual observations selected among the more than 80 arrived at the IMO.

(Credits: A. Carbognani)



by Ernesto Guido