Monday, July 23, 2012

New Comet: P/2012 O2 (MCNAUGHT)

Cbet nr. 3189, issued on 2012, July 23, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude 18.3) by R. H. McNaught on CCD images obtained with the 0.5-m Uppsala Schmidt telescope at Siding Spring on July 20.7. The new comet has been designated P/2012 O2 (MCNAUGHT).

We performed some follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 13 R-filtered exposures, 10-sec each, obtained remotely, from the Haleakala-Faulkes Telescope North on 2012, July 23.5, through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD, shows that this object appears "soft" compared to the nearby field stars of similar brightness (stellar FWHM of 1.0") and elongated toward PA 260.

Our confirmation image in false color to enhance the coma and its elongation.

M.P.E.C. 2012-O27 (including previously unpublished prediscovery Mount Lemmon observations acquired by A. Gibbs on May 20) assigns the following preliminary elliptical orbital elements to comet P/2012 O2: T 2012 June 25.09; e= 0.54; Peri. = 183.05; q = 1.66 AU; Incl.= 24.53.

by Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero & Nick Howes

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