Comets Easy to find, but only if you know what to look for - Dark location Patience Methodical Careful. If you think you’ve found a comet, you should first Check a good atlas (galaxy, nebula, etc.) Check list of currently visible or other newly discovered comets (Websites)
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If you think you’ve found a comet, you should first
Check a good atlas (galaxy, nebula, etc.)
Check list of currently visible or other newly discovered comets (Websites)
Check it out again the next evening - note any motion (position change)
Comet names Central Bureau for confirmation.
Still use the old discoverer naming system - but when too many are discovered by the same person (or project), this is too confusing
First part of the name
P/ - comet with period < 200 years
C/ - comet with period > 200 years
D/ - comet that disappeared
A/ - oops, an asteroid
Year of discovery, followed by 1/2 month of discovery code and order of discovery
January = A, B July=N,O
February = C, D August=P,Q
March = E, F September=R,S
April = G, H October=T,U
May = J,K November=V,W
On occasion some look asteroidal, and get a bit of an asteroid name added in.
C/2001 HT50 (LINEAR-NEAT) C/2001 Q4 (NEAT)
C/2002 O7 (LINEAR) C/2002 T7 (LINEAR)
2P/Encke 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1
Brightness of a comet and order of discovery
How do you measure it?
One method - defocus the telescope/binoculars
How bright should it be?
Depends on -
Distance from Sun
Distance from Earth
Towards/away from the Sun
Size/age of the comet
How close to the Sun in the sky
Orbital elements for comets – for orbit prediction/tracking
e = eccentricity (0-1) i = inclination (degrees)
T = date of Perihelion q = perihelion distance (AU)
W = longitude of the ascending node (degrees)
w = argument of the perihelion (degrees)
And how are asteroids named? prediction/tracking
Old names - Names of gods, goddesses, people (real)
New names - Year, 1/2 Month designation (same as comets) and order of discovery (also a letter, no I)
2008NA, 2008NB, 2008NC,....2008NZ,
Why study asteroids? prediction/tracking
Can determine radius/size using occultation events - very precise timing, location dependent.
Brightness variations - composition, rotation, size
Asteroids found by using before-after comparisons of a region.
Asteroids tend to be found in the ecliptic.
But some vehicles are prediction/trackingtougher
Meteorites - fragments of comets or asteroids prediction/tracking
Most common Stony
Macrometeorites - big ones, look for burned features, crusts, unusual location, color, metal detectors can help
Micrometeorites - small ones, rain down continually
Iron - Nickel Meteorites prediction/tracking
Martian Meteorites prediction/tracking