Monday, March 30, 2009

Recovery of P/2001 MD7 (LINEAR) = P/2009 F3 (LINEAR)

IAU Circular No. 9031, issued on 2009 Mar 20, announces the recovery of comet P/2001 MD_7 = COMET P/2009 F3 (LINEAR) by the undersigneds; it was last observed in April 2002.

We picked up this object on 2009 Mar 17, 18 and 20 through a couple of remotely controlled telescopes, located in New Mexico and Australia. The comet appeared as a pale glow, magnitude about 18, nearly 15 arcsec in diameter.

The recovered comet was very close to the ephemerids positions, however its detection has been a little problematic, because it was rather low in the morning sky just before twilight, located in a rich star field in Sgr. We took several nights of observations to locate it, fighting with clouds and moonlight interference.

Here you can see our image of March 22, 2009:

According the orbital elements published by the Minor Planet Center, perihelion will occur in September 2009, with the comet at 1.25 AU from the Sun; at that time P/2009 F3 (LINEAR) will reach about magnitude 12. This object moves along an elliptic orbit in 7.9 years, having a semi-major axis of 3.97 AU, eccentricity of 0.68 and an inclination nearly 13.5 deg.

We thanks the Mayhill-GRAS and Grove Creek-Skylive staff for the kind support they provided us for this tricky recovery.

by Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero & Paul Camilleri

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