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Long lost comet Pons-Gambart has been recovered!

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#1 Tonk

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:10 AM

This comet was last observed by Pons in 1827 at around mag 8!

The orbital period appears to be around 62 years so we have missed two subsequent returns until now.
Robert Matson has just reported an object as SWAN12B, now comfirmed as a comet with designation C/2012 V4 (CBET 3320) and also confirmed as D/Pons-Gambart

It is unfortunately (for me) currently in southern Sagittarius and below the horizon by the time the sun sets. It is heading north but perihelion is around 19th December and after that time the comet fades as it climbs north.

Harvard ephemeris

Date    TT    R. A. (2000) Decl.     Delta      r     Elong.  Phase   m1    m2
2012 11 29    19 16 44.2 -29 36 19   1.3714  0.8890    40.3    45.9  11.7
2012 11 30    19 15 49.3 -28 48 16   1.3897  0.8812    39.1    44.9  11.7
2012 12 01    19 14 55.9 -28 01 26   1.4079  0.8738    37.9    43.9  11.7
2012 12 02    19 14 03.6 -27 15 45   1.4258  0.8666    36.7    42.8  11.6
2012 12 03    19 13 12.4 -26 31 12   1.4435  0.8598    35.5    41.8  11.6
2012 12 04    19 12 22.1 -25 47 41   1.4609  0.8533    34.4    40.7  11.6
2012 12 05    19 11 32.6 -25 05 11   1.4779  0.8471    33.2    39.5  11.6
2012 12 06    19 10 43.9 -24 23 38   1.4946  0.8413    32.0    38.4  11.6


But congrats to Robert anyway for recovering a long lost comet!

Its currently 4th on this list of lost comets (soon to be removed!)

CometHunter lost comet list

#2 RobK

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 07:22 AM

The comet appears to be considerably brighter visually than the ephemeris magnitude and was an easy get in my 4.5" f8 reflector at 43x after twilight tonight. Small, around an arcminute in diameter, maybe a bit more in averted vision. Condensed but the bright inner coma eluded me. Visual mags of 9.4 and 9.3 have been reported. Quite reasonable although I felt it might have been slightly fainter than that. Photographically it's bright and a lovely green colour - my (rough) image from tonight is here:
http://i727.photobuc...Dec2012text.jpg

Amazing to eyeball something that hasn't been seen since 1827! If you have it in your skies, don't miss the opportunity to see it!

Cheers -

Rob

#3 Tonk

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 07:26 AM

The Harvard magnitudes are always well below what is observed in my experience!

Rob you have the luck to be in the southern hemisphere for this one!

#4 Tonk

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:42 AM

There has just been an MPC update on this comet

http://www.minorplan...K12/K12X14.html

From analysis of the comet astrometry this time round it seems that the comet has a 188 year orbit and this is indeed the first return of Pons-Gambart since 1827

#5 Asbytec

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:07 AM

I offer my congratulations to Robert for some fine work. Bravo.






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