[AZ-Observing] New comet 2003 K2

  • From: Brian Skiff <Brian.Skiff@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 27 May 2003 12:40:17 -0700 (MST)

     The first new comet found by the refurbished Catalina Sky Survey in
Tucson was announced this morning.  It is coming out from behind the
Sun in the evening sky in Cancer, and will be fading in the coming weeks.
The discovery announcement from IAU Circular 8136 is copied in part below.
     I was among the folks doing follow-up astrometry, using the LONEOS
Schmidt at Lowell.  Since we're operating at f/2 and reach much fainter
surface brightness than most folks, I measured the comet to be rather larger
than what's reported in the IAUC.  The coma was about 30" wide with a moderate
nuclear condensation, and the tail 75" long in pa100-110.  The "slight curve"
reported is almost certainly due to a background galaxy that the comet was
passing over at the time last night that the observer didn't recognize.



                                                  Circular No. 8136
Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams
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CBAT@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (science)
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COMET C/2003 K2
     Eric Christensen, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, reports the
discovery of a comet (discovery observation below) by the Catalina
Sky Survey on CCD images taken with the 0.7-m Schmidt telescope.
Following posting on the NEO Confirmation Page, many observers
noted the obvious cometary nature of the object on CCD images taken
during May 27.1-27.2 UT, including R. Elliot (Fall Creek, WI; coma
diameter about 10"), P. R. Holvorcem and M. Schwartz (near Nogales,
AZ; coma diameter about 35", with a 30" tail in p.a. 106 deg), J.
Young (Table Mountain, CA; 10" coma and a very faint 40" tail in
p.a. 115 deg with a slight curve halfway along its length to p.a.
130 deg), and J. McGaha (Tucson, AZ; coma diameter 12", with slight
nuclear condensation and a 6" tail).

     2003 UT             R.A. (2000) Decl.        m1
     May  26.18118    8 20 57.31   +28 34 00.4   14.6

The available astrometry, the following preliminary parabolic
orbital elements, and an ephemeris appear on MPEC 2003-K43.

     T = 2003 Apr. 11.916 TT          Peri. =   7.765
                                      Node  =  88.620   2000.0
     q = 0.70200 AU                   Incl. =  10.214

                      (C) Copyright 2003 CBAT
2003 May 27                    (8136)            Daniel W. E. Green
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