year sees comet 2P/Encke's 62nd
observed return to perihelion since its discovery by Mechain in 1786.
The orbit is quite stable, and with a period of 3.3 years apparitions
repeat on a 10-year cycle. This year
the comet is well seen from the Northern Hemisphere prior to perihelion, which
is in late November. The comet
brightens rapidly during September and could be visible in large binoculars by
the end of the month. It crosses
from the evening to the morning sky through October and will sink into the
morning twilight by mid November, when it could be 6th magnitude.
This magnitude may however be optimistic as observations from the
The comet is the focus of a Section campaign for 2013.
Try and obtain accurate magnitude estimates for as long an arc as possible. Please use the magnitudes given on the charts that are available on the Computing Section web page. These observations will allow me to compute another point for our secular magnitude graph. Submit observations in ICQ format.
Observe Taurid meteors between October 23 and November 14.
Try and obtain comparable magnitude estimates to those of the visual observers using the technique developed by Roger Dymock, particularly when the comet is out of visual range. Submit observations in ICQ format.
Use the Aprho technique to reveal possible minor outbursts. It is important not to claim an outburst on the basis of isolated observations.
Monitor when the ion tail first forms, and how it and the dust tail develop.
conjunctions - the comet passes close to open cluster NGC 2281 around
October 1. There is also a
conjunction with 2012 S1 (ISON), but this occurs when too close to
the Sun for viewing.
Provide positions to the MPC.