Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Recovery of Periodic Comet 61P/Shajn-Schaldach

M.P.E.C. 2008-L40, issued on 2008 June 9, report the recovery of the 61P/Shajn-Schaldach (it was last observed in 2001, Dec. 11). We picked-up this faint periodic comet on 2008, June 6.4, and confirmed it on June 7,4 while it was in Pisces, by means of a remotely-controlled telescope of the R.A.S. network (details on image):


In our stackings it appears as a faint smudge of light (magnitude nearly 18). No coma or tail can be appreciated in our images, however it must be said that when we imaged it, the comet was merely 20 degrees above the horizon, nearly lost in the morning twilight, so we cannot exclude that under better observing conditions further details could be glimpsed.

61P belongs to the "Jupiter family comets" class, it completes its elliptic orbit (a~ 3.7 AU, e~ 0.43, i~ 6 deg) every 7 years. It will reach perihelion at the beginning of September 2008; however, it is not supposed to get significantly brighter than magnitude 15 (this maximum in its lightcurve will be reached at perigee, around the end of October 2008).

Updated orbital elements and ephemerids are available at the Minor Planets Center's website:


by Ernesto Guido and Giovanni Sostero

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