Monday, June 16, 2008

New Comet C/2008 L2 (HILL)

IAU Circular nr.8953, issued on 2008, June 15, announces the discovery by R. E. Hill of a new comet, named C/2008 L2 (HILL).

It was found with the 0.68-m schmidt of the "Catalina Sky Survey" on 2008, June 12.44, in the morning sky within Pegasus, and it has been described by the discoverer as having a coma diameter of 5"-14" with a diffuse, fan-shaped tail about 20 arcsec long in PA 250 degrees.

After posting on the Minor Planet Center's 'NEOCP' webpage, J. M. Aymani (Tiana, Spain) observing with a 0.25-m reflector + CCD, reported the dtection of a faint tail in PA 256 degrees.

We observed it remotely from Mayhill (NM) on 2008 Jun. 13.4, through a 0.25-m, f/3.4 reflector + CCD of the "Global Rent A Scope" network: in our stacking (co-adding of 42 unfiltered exposures, 60 seconds each) we could only appreciate that this object appeared slightly "soft" compared to nearby field stars of similar brightness.

Our stacking is available here (details on image):

Preliminary orbital elements published by the Minor Planet Center in M.P.E.C. 2008-L55 ( assumes that this object moves along a parabolic orbit (i= 25 deg, q= 2.5 AU); perihelion will be reached at the end of July 2008. According the current ephemerids, this comet will reach its maximum brightness next September (m1~ 17.2).

by Ernesto Guido and Giovanni Sostero

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