Thursday, October 6, 2016

Comets & Asteroids - Summary for August & September 2016

During the months of August & September 2016, 10 new comets were discovered, cometary activity was detected for 4 previously discovered object (earlier designated as an asteroid) and there were 3 comet recoveries. "Current comet magnitudes" & "Daily updated asteroid flybys" pages are available at the top of this blog (or just click on the underline text here). 

The dates below refer to the date of issuance of CBET (Central Bureau Electronic Telegram)  which reported the official news & designations.

- Comet Discoveries

Aug 14  Discovery of P/2016 P1 (PANSTARRS)
Aug 14  Discovery of P/2016 P2 (PANSTARRS)
Aug 29  Discovery of P/2016 N6 (PANSTARRS)
Aug 31  Discovery of C/2016 Q2 (PANSTARRS)
Sep 02   Discovery of C/2016 Q4 (KOWALSKI)
Sep 09   Discovery of C/2016 P4 (PANSTARRS)
Sep 09   Discovery of C/2016 R2 (PANSTARRS)
Sep 16   Discovery of C/2016 R3 (BORISOV)
Sep 29   Discovery of C/2016 S1 (PANSTARRS)
Sep 29   Discovery of P/2016 R4 (GIBBS)

- Cometary activity detected

Aug 10  Cometary activity detected in 2014 HU_195 = C/2014 HU_195
Aug 15  Cometary activity detected in 2015 TP_200  = P/2015 TP_200 (LINEAR)
Aug 31  Cometary activity detected in 2008 SH164   = P/2016 Q3 (LINEAR)
Sep 27   Cometary activity detected in P/2009 Q9       = P/2016 SV (PANSTARRS)

- Comet Recoveries

Aug 15  Recovery of P/2003 SQ_215 (NEAT-LONEOS) as P/2016 P3
Aug 31  Recovery of P/2005 S3 (READ) as P/2016 Q1
Sep 03   Recovery of P/2007 T6 (CATALINA) as P/2016 R1

- Other news

Aug 02 July Gamma Draconid meteor shower showed a little outburst between July 27d 23h56m and July 28d 00h23m UT as showed by IMO and CAMS meteor video camera networks and by Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar data. The observed rate translates to a peak zenith hourly rate for a visual observer (assuming a differential mass distribution index of 1.9) of about 50 meteors per hour for the period 0h-1h UT on July 28.

Credit: IMO

Aug 04 A bright sungrazer heading towards the Sun imaged by the ESA/NASA Solar & Heliospheric Observatory SOHO 03 & 04 August 2016.

Credit: SOHO

Sep 01 Comet 174P/ECHECLUS = (60558) ECHECLUS was found in outburst by P. Camilleri, brightening from magnitude r' = 17.8 to 15.2 between Aug 27.745 and 28.686 UT in a photometric aperture of radius 5".2. 

Sep 05 The search for @Philae2014 is OVER! Less than a month before the end of the mission, Rosetta’s high-resolution camera has revealed the Philae lander wedged into a dark crack on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The images were taken on 2 September by the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera as the orbiter came within 2.7 km of the surface and clearly show the main body of the lander, along with two of its three legs.

Credit: ESA/Rosetta

Sep 07 Close approach of asteroid 2016 RB1. Asteroid 2016 RB1 (estimated size of 7.3 m - 16 m) had a close approach with Earth at about 0.1 LD (Lunar Distances = ~384,000 kilometers) on 2016, September 7 at 17:20UT reaching a peak magnitude of about +12.3.

Sep 24 Time-resolved observations of the split comet 332P/Ikeya-Murakami were taken using the Hubble Space Telescope.

Credit: D. Jewitt et al.

Sep 30 ESA’s historic Rosetta mission has concluded as planned, with the controlled impact onto the comet it had been investigating for more than two years. Confirmation of the end of the mission arrived at ESA’s control centre in Darmstadt, Germany at 11:19 GMT (13:19 CEST) with the loss of Rosetta’s signal upon impact.

During the the spacecraft’s controlled descent, OSIRIS narrow-angle camera aboard Rosetta imaged comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from an altitude of about 16 kilometers above the surface. Credit: ESA/Rosetta

A last image of comet 67P taken by Rosetta shortly before impact at an altitude of 20m above surface. The scale is 2 mm/pixel and the image measures about 96 cm across. Credit: ESA/Rosetta

by Ernesto Guido