Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Comet C/2008 E1 (CATALINA)

IAUC 8923, published yesterday, reports the discovery of a new comet: C/2008 E1 (CATALINA). It has been picked-up with the 0.68m Schmidt + CCD of the Catalina Sky Survey on 2008, Mar. 2.14.

According the report of several astrometrist that performed its follow-up, this object is rather faint (nearly magnitude 19) and is currently showing a small coma, 6 to 12 arcsec in diameter, elongated toward North-East.

We imaged it remotely from Mayhill, NM (details on image; click on it for a bigger version):

Preliminary orbital elements published on MPEC 2008-E41 points to a parabolic orbit, with e=1.0 and Incl.=34.3 deg; perihelion will be reached at the end of October 2008 (q=4.8 AU).

This comet is not supposed to get any brighter than V~17, so it shoud remain a rather unconspicuous object, in spite of the fact that it has a significative absolute magnitude, since we are currently observing it at Jupiter's distance.

Ernesto Guido & Giovanni Sostero

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