Tuesday, August 11, 2015

New Comet: C/2015 P3 (SWAN)

CBET nr. 4136, issued on 2015, August 11, announces the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~11) by M. Mattiazzo on low-resolution public website hydrogen Lyman-alpha images obtained during Aug. 3 and 4 with the Solar Wind Anisotropies (SWAN) camera on the Solar and Heliospheric Observer (SOHO) spacecraft. The new comet has been designated C/2015 P3 (SWAN).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 13 unfiltered exposures, 15-sec each, obtained remotely on 2015, August 10.4 from Q62 (iTelescope network - Siding Spring) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer, shows that this object is a comet: sharp central condensation surrounded by bright coma about 1 arcmin in diameter.

Our confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version)

M.P.E.C. 2015-P25 assigns the following very preliminary parabolic orbital elements to comet C/2015 P3: T 2015 July 27.26; e= 1.0; Peri. =  131.81; q = 0.71;  Incl.= 59.32

by Ernesto Guido & Nick Howes