Friday, May 16, 2008

Comet C/2008 J6 (HILL)

IAU Circular nr. 8945, issued on 2008, May 15, announces the discovery by R. E. Hill of a new comet, named C/2008 J6 (HILL).

It was found in the morning sky within Pegasus, with the 0.68-m schmidt of the "Catalina Sky Survey" on 2008, May 14.46, and it has been described by the discoverer as having a diffuse coma with a clear central condensation and a fan-shaped tail 1 arcmin long in p.a. 210 degrees.

After posting on the Minor Planet Center's 'NEOCP' webpage, several observers reported about its cometary nature (J. C. Pelle, N. Teamo, S. Nakano, Y. Ikari, J. E. McGaha and the undersigneds).

We observed it remotely from Mayhill (NM) on 2008 May 15.4, through the 0.25-m, f/3.4 reflector + CCD of the "Global Rent A Scope" network: we found a sharp central condensation about 8" in diameter, surrounded by a faint, extended coma about 25" in diameter (total mag about 15.5, nuclear magnitude about 16.6) and a fan-shaped tail 30" long toward the southwest.

Preliminary orbital elements from the Minor Planet Center assume that this object moves along a parabolic orbit (i= 46 deg, q= 2.1 AU); perihelion has been reached at the end of April 2008. According the current ephemerids, in the next future this comet will decrease its brightness.

by Ernesto Guido & Giovanni Sostero

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