BAA Comet Section : New comets discovered in 2003

Updated 2013 November 15


  • 2003 A1 (LINEAR)
  • 2003 A2 (Gleason)
  • 2003 A3 (SOHO)
  • 2003 A4 (SOHO)
  • 2003 A5 (SOHO)
  • A/2003 AC1 [LINEAR]
  • A/2003 AK73 [NEAT]
  • 2003 B1 (SOHO)
  • 2003 B2 (SOHO)
  • A/2003 BM1 [NEAT]
  • A/2003 BU35 [LINEAR]
  • A/2003 BD44 [LONEOS]
  • 2003 C1 (SOHO)
  • 2003 C2 (SOHO)
  • 2003 C3 (SOHO)
  • 2003 C4 (SOHO)
  • 2003 C5 (SOHO)
  • A/2003 CO1 [NEAT]
  • 2003 CP7 (LINEAR-NEAT)
  • A/2003 CC11 [LINEAR]
  • A/2003 CC22 [CFHT]
  • 2003 D1 (SOHO)
  • 2003 E1 (NEAT)
  • 2003 E2 (SOHO)
  • 2003 E3 (SOHO)
  • 2003 E4 (SOHO)
  • A/2003 EH1 [LONEOS]
  • A/2003 EJ59 [LINEAR]
  • 2003 F1 (LINEAR)
  • 2003 F2 (P/NEAT)
  • 2003 F3 (SOHO)
  • 2003 F4 (SOHO)
  • 2003 F5 (SOHO)
  • 2003 G1 (LINEAR)
  • 2003 G2 (LINEAR)
  • 2003 G3 (SOHO)
  • 2003 G4 (SOHO)
  • A/2003 GS22 [Kitt Peak]
  • 2003 H1 (LINEAR)
  • 2003 H2 (LINEAR)
  • 2003 H3 (NEAT)
  • 2003 H4 (P/LINEAR)
  • 2003 H5 (SOHO)
  • 2003 H6 (SOHO)
  • 2003 H7 (SOHO)
  • 2003 H8 (SOHO)
  • 2003 H9 (SOHO)
  • 2003 H10 (SOHO)
  • 2003 H11 (SOHO)
  • 2003 H12 (SOHO)
  • 2003 HT15 (P/LINEAR)
  • A/2003 HP32 [Kitt Peak]
  • 2003 J1 (NEAT)
  • 2003 J2 (SOHO)
  • 2003 J3 (SOHO)
  • 2003 J4 (SOHO)
  • 2003 J5 (SOHO)
  • 2003 J6 (SOHO)
  • 2003 J7 (SOHO)
  • 2003 J8 (SOHO)
  • 2003 J9 (SOHO)
  • A/2003 JC11 [Kitt Peak]
  • 2003 K1 (Spacewatch)
  • 2003 K2 P/Christensen
  • 2003 K3 (SOHO)
  • 2003 K4 (LINEAR)
  • 2003 K5 (SOHO)
  • 2003 K6 (SOHO)
  • 2003 K7 (SOHO)
  • 2003 K8 (SOHO)
  • 2003 K9 (SOHO)
  • 2003 K10 (SOHO)
  • 2003 K11 (SOHO)
  • 2003 K12 (SOHO)
  • 2003 K13 (SOHO)
  • 2003 KV2 (P/LINEAR)
  • A/2003 KP2 [LINEAR]
  • A/2003 KU2 [Kitt Peak]
  • 2003 L1 (Scotti)
  • 2003 L2 (LINEAR)
  • 2003 L3 (SOHO)
  • 2003 L4 (SOHO)
  • 2003 L5 (SOHO)
  • 2003 L6 (SOHO)
  • 2003 L7 (SOHO)
  • 2003 L8 (SOHO)
  • 2003 M1 (SOHO)
  • 2003 M2 (SOHO)
  • 2003 M3 (SOHO)
  • 2003 M4 (SOHO)
  • 2003 M5 (SOHO)
  • 2003 M6 (SOHO)
  • 2003 M7 (SOHO)
  • 2003 M8 (SOHO)
  • 2003 M9 (SOHO)
  • 2003 M10 (SOHO)
  • 2003 M11 (SOHO)
  • 2003 M12 (SOHO)
  • A/2003 MT [Kitt Peak]
  • A/2003 MT9 [LINEAR]
  • 2003 N1 (SOHO)
  • 2003 N2 (SOHO)
  • 2003 O1 (LINEAR)
  • 2003 O2 (P/LINEAR)
  • 2003 O3 (P/LINEAR)
  • 2003 O4 (SOHO)
  • 2003 O5 (SOHO)
  • 2003 O6 (SOHO)
  • 2003 O7 (SOHO)
  • 2003 O8 (SOHO)
  • 2003 P1 (SOHO)
  • 2003 P2 (SOHO)
  • 2003 P3 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Q1 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Q2 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Q3 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Q4 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Q5 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Q6 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Q7 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Q8 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Q9 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Q10 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Q11 (SOHO)
  • 2003 QX29 (P/NEAT)
  • 2003 R1 (LINEAR)
  • 2003 R2 (SOHO)
  • 2003 R3 (SOHO)
  • 2003 R4 (SOHO)
  • 2003 R5 (SOHO)
  • A/2003 RW11 [Table Mountain Observatory]
  • 2003 S1 (P/NEAT)
  • 2003 S2 (P/NEAT)
  • 2003 S3 (LINEAR)
  • 2003 S4 (LINEAR)
  • 2003 S5 (SOHO)
  • 2003 S6 (SOHO)
  • 2003 S7 (SOHO)
  • 2003 S8 (SOHO)
  • 2003 S9 (SOHO)
  • 2003 SQ215 (NEAT-LONEOS)
  • A/2003 SB220 [LINEAR]
  • 2003 T1 (157P/Tritton)
  • 2003 T2 (LINEAR)
  • 2003 T3 (Tabur)
  • 2003 T4 (LINEAR)
  • 2003 T5 (SOHO)
  • 2003 T6 (SOHO)
  • 2003 T7 (SOHO)
  • 2003 T8 (SOHO)
  • 2003 T9 (SOHO)
  • 2003 T10 (SOHO)
  • 2003 T11 (SOHO)
  • 2003 T12 (SOHO)
  • 2003 U1 (LINEAR)
  • 2003 U2 (P/LINEAR)
  • 2003 U3 (P/NEAR)
  • 2003 U4 (SOHO)
  • 2003 U5 (SOHO)
  • 2003 U6 (SOHO)
  • 2003 U7 (SOHO)
  • 2003 U8 (SOHO)
  • 2003 U9 (SOHO)
  • 2003 UD16 (159P/LONEOS)
  • 2003 UY275 (P/LINEAR)
  • A/2003 UO12 [Spacewatch]
  • A/2003 UY283 [Spacewatch]
  • 2003 V1 (LINEAR)
  • 2003 V2 (SOHO)
  • 2003 V3 (SOHO)
  • 2003 V4 (SOHO)
  • 2003 V5 (SOHO)
  • 2003 V6 (SOHO)
  • 2003 V7 (SOHO)
  • 2003 V8 (SOHO)
  • Sedna (2003 VB12)
  • 2003 W1 (LINEAR)
  • 2003 W2 (SOHO)
  • 2003 W3 (SOHO)
  • 2003 W4 (SOHO)
  • 2003 W5 (SOHO)
  • 2003 W6 (SOHO)
  • 2003 W7 (SOHO)
  • 2003 W8 (SOHO)
  • 2003 WC7 (LINEAR-Catalina)
  • A/2003 WM7 [NEAT]
  • A/2003 WB8 [LINEAR]
  • 2003 WY25 (P/Blanpain-Catalina)
  • A/2003 WE42 [Dossin]
  • 2003 WT42 (LINEAR)
  • A/2003 WG166 [LINEAR]
  • A/2003 WN188 [Catalina]
  • 2003 X1 (SOHO)
  • 2003 X2 (SOHO)
  • 2003 X3 (SOHO)
  • 2003 X4 (SOHO)
  • 2003 X5 (SOHO)
  • 2003 X6 (SOHO)
  • 2003 X7 (SOHO)
  • 2003 X8 (SOHO)
  • 2003 X9 (SOHO)
  • 2003 X10 (SOHO)
  • 2003 X11 (SOHO)
  • A/2003 XM [LINEAR]
  • 2003 XD10 (P/LINEAR-NEAT)
  • 2003 Y1 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Y2 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Y3 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Y4 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Y5 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Y6 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Y7 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Y8 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Y9 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Y10 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Y11 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Y12 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Y13 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Y14 (SOHO)
  • 2003 Y15 (SOHO)
  • 2003 YM159 (P/LINEAR-Hill)

  • When observing a comet please try to forget how bright you think the comet should be, what it was when you last viewed it, what other observers think it is or what the ephemeris says it should be.

    The equations for the light curves of comets that are currently visible use only the raw observations and should give a reasonable prediction for the current brightness. If the comet has not yet been observed or has gone from view a correction for aperture is included, so that telescopic observers should expect the comet to be fainter than given by the equation. The correction is about 0.033 per centimetre. Values for the r parameter given in square brackets [ ] are assumed. The form of the light curve is either the standard m = H0 + 5 log d + K0 log r or the linear brightening m = H0 + 5 log d + L0 abs(t - T + D0) where T is the date of perihelion, t the present and D0 an offset, if L0 is +ve the comet brightens towards perihelion and if D0 is +ve the comet is brightest prior to perihelion.

    Observations of individual comets are given below, but if you want to view the latest observations of all comets, here are the ones I've received recently in TA format (note that observations received in ICQ format are in the individual files only). All observation lists are given in ICQ format.

    Full details of recently discovered objects will not appear until they are available on the CBAT web pages, which is usually a fortnight after the publication of the IAUC.


    Meyer Group SOHO comets
    2003 B1 (SOHO) (IAUC 8065, 2003 February 4)
    2003 H5 (SOHO) (IAUC 8178, 2003 August 8)
    2003 K5 (SOHO) (IAUC 8179, 2003 August 11)
    2003 K6 (SOHO) (IAUC 8179, 2003 August 11)
    2003 U4 (SOHO) (IAUC 8340, 2004 May 17)
    2003 W2 (SOHO) (IAUC 8341, 2004 May 18)
    2003 Y1 (SOHO) (IAUC 8341, 2004 May 18)
    were discovered with the SOHO LASCO coronographs and have not been observed elsewhere. They were sungrazing comets of the Meyer group. For further information on the discovery of these objects see this year's SOHO discoveries.
    Kracht Group II SOHO comets
    2003 R5 (SOHO)(IAUC 8340, 2004 May 17)
    was discovered with the SOHO LASCO coronographs and has not been observed elsewhere. It was a sungrazing comet of the Kracht group II. For further information on the discovery of these objects see this year's SOHO discoveries.
    Marsden Group SOHO comets
    2003 Q1 (SOHO)(IAUC 8339, 2004 May 13)
    2003 Q6 (SOHO)(IAUC 8339, 2004 May 13)
    were discovered with the SOHO LASCO coronographs and have not been observed elsewhere. They were sungrazing comets and probably members of the Marsden group. For further information on the discovery of these objects see this year's SOHO discoveries.
    SOHO Kreutz group comets
    2003 A3 (SOHO)(IAUC 8269, 2004 January 15)
    2003 A4 (SOHO)(IAUC 8269, 2004 January 15)
    2003 A5 (SOHO)(IAUC 8269, 2004 January 15)
    2003 B2 (SOHO)(IAUC 8276, 2004 January 25)
    2003 C1 (SOHO)(IAUC 8276, 2004 January 25)
    2003 C2 (SOHO)(IAUC 8278, 2004 January 29)
    2003 C3 (SOHO)(IAUC 8278, 2004 January 29)
    2003 C4 (SOHO)(IAUC 8278, 2004 January 29)
    2003 C5 (SOHO)(IAUC 8278, 2004 January 29)
    2003 D1 (SOHO)(IAUC 8276, 2004 January 25)
    2003 E2 (SOHO)(IAUC 8283, 2004 February 9)
    2003 E3 (SOHO)(IAUC 8283, 2004 February 9)
    2003 E4 (SOHO)(IAUC 8283, 2004 February 9)
    2003 F3 (SOHO)(IAUC 8283, 2004 February 9)
    2003 F4 (SOHO)(IAUC 8283, 2004 February 9)
    2003 F5 (SOHO)(IAUC 8291, 2004 February 20)
    2003 G4 (SOHO)(IAUC 8291, 2004 February 20)
    2003 H8 (SOHO)(IAUC 8291, 2004 February 20)
    2003 H9 (SOHO)(IAUC 8291, 2004 February 20)
    2003 H10 (SOHO)(IAUC 8291, 2004 February 20)
    2003 H11 (SOHO)(IAUC 8291, 2004 February 20)
    2003 H12 (SOHO)(IAUC 8291, 2004 February 20)
    2003 J2 (SOHO)(IAUC 8291, 2004 February 20)
    2003 J3 (SOHO)(IAUC 8291, 2004 February 20)
    2003 J4 (SOHO)(IAUC 8291, 2004 February 20)
    2003 J5 (SOHO)(IAUC 8291, 2004 February 20)
    2003 J6 (SOHO)(IAUC 8291, 2004 February 20)
    2003 J7 (SOHO)(IAUC 8291, 2004 February 20)
    2003 J8 (SOHO)(IAUC 8309, 2004 March 19)
    2003 J9 (SOHO)(IAUC 8309, 2004 March 19)
    2003 K7 (SOHO)(IAUC 8309, 2004 March 19)
    2003 K8 (SOHO)(IAUC 8309, 2004 March 19)
    2003 K9 (SOHO)(IAUC 8309, 2004 March 19)
    2003 K10 (SOHO)(IAUC 8327, 2004 April 20)
    2003 K11 (SOHO)(IAUC 8327, 2004 April 20)
    2003 K12 (SOHO)(IAUC 8327, 2004 April 20)
    2003 K13 (SOHO)(IAUC 8333, 2004 April 30)
    2003 L3 (SOHO)(IAUC 8327, 2004 April 20)
    2003 L4 (SOHO)(IAUC 8327, 2004 April 20)
    2003 L5 (SOHO)(IAUC 8327, 2004 April 20)
    2003 L6 (SOHO)(IAUC 8327, 2004 April 20)
    2003 L7 (SOHO)(IAUC 8327, 2004 April 20)
    2003 L8 (SOHO)(IAUC 8327, 2004 April 20)
    2003 M1 (SOHO)(IAUC 8327, 2004 April 20)
    2003 M2 (SOHO)(IAUC 8327, 2004 April 20)
    2003 M3 (SOHO)(IAUC 8327, 2004 April 20)
    2003 M4 (SOHO)(IAUC 8327, 2004 April 20)
    2003 M5 (SOHO)(IAUC 8327, 2004 April 20)
    2003 M6 (SOHO)(IAUC 8327, 2004 April 20)
    2003 M7 (SOHO)(IAUC 8327, 2004 April 20)
    2003 M8 (SOHO)(IAUC 8333, 2004 April 30)
    2003 M9 (SOHO)(IAUC 8333, 2004 April 30)
    2003 M10 (SOHO)(IAUC 8333, 2004 April 30)
    2003 M11 (SOHO)(IAUC 8333, 2004 April 30)
    2003 M12 (SOHO)(IAUC 8333, 2004 April 30)
    2003 N1 (SOHO)(IAUC 8333, 2004 April 30)
    2003 N2 (SOHO)(IAUC 8333, 2004 April 30)
    2003 O4 (SOHO)(IAUC 8334, 2004 April 30))
    2003 O5 (SOHO)(IAUC 8334, 2004 April 30))
    2003 O6 (SOHO)(IAUC 8334, 2004 April 30))
    2003 O7 (SOHO)(IAUC 8334, 2004 April 30))
    2003 O8 (SOHO)(IAUC 8334, 2004 April 30))
    2003 P1 (SOHO)(IAUC 8334, 2004 April 30))
    2003 P2 (SOHO)(IAUC 8334, 2004 April 30)
    2003 P3 (SOHO)(IAUC 8339, 2004 May 13)
    2003 Q2 (SOHO)(IAUC 8339, 2004 May 13)
    2003 Q3 (SOHO)(IAUC 8339, 2004 May 13)
    2003 Q4 (SOHO)(IAUC 8339, 2004 May 13)
    2003 Q5 (SOHO)(IAUC 8339, 2004 May 13)
    2003 Q7 (SOHO)(IAUC 8340, 2004 May 17)
    2003 Q8 (SOHO)(IAUC 8340, 2004 May 17)
    2003 Q9 (SOHO)(IAUC 8340, 2004 May 17)
    2003 Q10 (SOHO)(IAUC 8341, 2004 May 18)
    2003 Q11 (SOHO)(IAUC 8340, 2004 May 17)
    2003 R2 (SOHO)(IAUC 8340, 2004 May 17)
    2003 R3 (SOHO)(IAUC 8340, 2004 May 17)
    2003 S5 (SOHO)(IAUC 8340, 2004 May 17)
    2003 S6 (SOHO)(IAUC 8340, 2004 May 17)
    2003 S7 (SOHO)(IAUC 8340, 2004 May 17)
    2003 S8 (SOHO)(IAUC 8340, 2004 May 17)
    2003 T5 (SOHO)(IAUC 8300, 2004 March 9)
    2003 T6 (SOHO)(IAUC 8300, 2004 March 9)
    2003 T7 (SOHO)(IAUC 8300, 2004 March 9)
    2003 T8 (SOHO)(IAUC 8340, 2004 May 17)
    2003 T9 (SOHO)(IAUC 8341, 2004 May 18)
    2003 T10 (SOHO)(IAUC 8341, 2004 May 18)
    2003 T11 (SOHO)(IAUC 8341, 2004 May 18)
    2003 U5 (SOHO)(IAUC 8341, 2004 May 18)
    2003 U6 (SOHO)(IAUC 8341, 2004 May 18)
    2003 U7 (SOHO)(IAUC 8348, 2004 May 28)
    2003 U8 (SOHO)(IAUC 8348, 2004 May 28)
    2003 U9 (SOHO)(IAUC 8348, 2004 May 28)
    2003 V2 (SOHO)(IAUC 8351, 2004 June 11)
    2003 V3 (SOHO)(IAUC 8351, 2004 June 11)
    2003 V4 (SOHO)(IAUC 8351, 2004 June 11)
    2003 V5 (SOHO)(IAUC 8351, 2004 June 11)
    2003 V6 (SOHO)(IAUC 8354, 2004 June 15)
    2003 V7 (SOHO)(IAUC 8354, 2004 June 15)
    2003 V8 (SOHO)(IAUC 8356, 2004 June 17)
    2003 W3 (SOHO)(IAUC 8356, 2004 June 17)
    2003 W4 (SOHO)(IAUC 8356, 2004 June 17)
    2003 W5 (SOHO)(IAUC 8356, 2004 June 17)
    2003 W6 (SOHO)(IAUC 8356, 2004 June 17)
    2003 W7 (SOHO)(IAUC 8356, 2004 June 17)
    2003 W8 (SOHO)(IAUC 8356, 2004 June 17)
    2003 X1 (SOHO)(IAUC 8356, 2004 June 17)
    2003 X2 (SOHO)(IAUC 8356, 2004 June 17)
    2003 X3 (SOHO)(IAUC 8356, 2004 June 17)
    2003 X4 (SOHO)(IAUC 8356, 2004 June 17)
    2003 X5 (SOHO)(IAUC 8357, 2004 June 17)
    2003 X6 (SOHO)(IAUC 8357, 2004 June 17)
    2003 X7 (SOHO)(IAUC 8357, 2004 June 17)
    2003 X8 (SOHO)(IAUC 8357, 2004 June 17)
    2003 X9 (SOHO)(IAUC 8357, 2004 June 17)
    2003 X10 (SOHO)(IAUC 8357, 2004 June 17)
    2003 X11 (SOHO)(IAUC 8357, 2004 June 17)
    2003 Y2 (SOHO)(IAUC 8357, 2004 June 17)
    2003 Y3 (SOHO)(IAUC 8357, 2004 June 17)
    2003 Y4 (SOHO)(IAUC 8357, 2004 June 17)
    2003 Y5 (SOHO)(IAUC 8357, 2004 June 17)
    2003 Y6 (SOHO)(IAUC 8357, 2004 June 17)
    2003 Y7 (SOHO)(IAUC 8357, 2004 June 17)
    2003 Y8 (SOHO)(IAUC 8357, 2004 June 17)
    2003 Y9 (SOHO)(IAUC 8357, 2004 June 17)
    2003 Y10 (SOHO)(IAUC 8357, 2004 June 17)
    2003 Y11 (SOHO)(IAUC 8358, 2004 June 18)
    2003 Y12 (SOHO)(IAUC 8358, 2004 June 18)
    2003 Y13 (SOHO)(IAUC 8358, 2004 June 18)
    2003 Y14 (SOHO)(IAUC 8358, 2004 June 18)
    2003 Y15 (SOHO)(IAUC 8358, 2004 June 18)
    were discovered with the SOHO LASCO coronographs and have not been observed elsewhere. They were sungrazing comets of the Kreutz group and were not expected to survive perihelion. Some of these comets show no tail at all and it is possible that some supposed observations of Vulcan were actually tiny Kreutz group comets. Details of the Kreutz comets announced in IAUC during 2003 are listed here, and there is an abbreviated list of those discovered in 2003.
    2003 A1 (LINEAR) LINEAR discovered a 19th mag comet on January 5.07. [IAUC 8044, 2003 January 8] Although parabolic orbital elements were published, Brian Marsden noted on MPEC 2003-A56 [2003 January 8] that the object was probably of short period, and that its orbit was rather similar to that of comet D/1783 W1 (Pigott). Further observations, published on MPEC 2003-A86 [2003 January 15] confirm the short period nature of the orbit, with perihelion at 1.91 AU, a high inclination of 46 degrees and a period of 7.1 years. The ephemeris suggests that it will fade. This is LINEAR's 100th comet.

    Orbital calculations by Maik Meyer tend to confirm the identity of the object with D/1783 W1. Nakano has computed a linked orbit:

    If the comet has made 33 revolutions from 1783 to 2003, this provides a good linkage between D/1783 W1 and P/2003 A1. Because the period of the comet is not certain, the number of revolutions of the comet could be between 37 and 29. Furthermore, in the case of 33 revolutions, the comet made close approaches to Jupiter: on 1923 9 16.0 to 0.35 AU, on 1864 6 1.5 to 0.57 AU, and on 1852 7 3.0 to 0.98 AU with an approach to 0.67 AU on 1793 4 7.5. The closest approach to the earth during this time was at the appearance of 1783.

    An apparently asteroidal LINEAR object discovered on January 5.07 with m2 18.4), posted on the NEO Confirmation Page, has been found to be diffuse by CCD observers elsewhere, including at Haleakala (1.2-m reflector, with K. Lawrence reporting the object as slightly diffuse on NEAT images taken on Jan. 7.3 UT, and again somewhat diffuse on Jan. 8.3), at Klet (where M. Tichy found a coma diameter of 8" on images taken on Jan. 8.7 with the 1.06-m KLENOT reflector), and at Ondrejov (where P. Pravec found a faint, small coma that was "marginally apparent", on images taken close to the moon on Jan. 8.8 with the 0.65-m f/3.6 reflector). The object is likely of short period, with the angular orbital elements quite similar to those of D/1783 W1. [IAUC 8044, 2003 January 8]

    The name was finally confirmed in 2004 November.

    The IAU Committee on Small Bodies Nomenclature has decided to name three comets as follows: C/1996 R3 (Lagerkvist), P/2003 A1 (LINEAR), P/2004 A1 (LONEOS). [IAUC 8430, 2004 November 6]

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 2003 January 15, updated 2003 January 20.


    2003 A2 (Gleason) A very distant, 20th magnitude object, first observed by Spacewatch II on January 10.39 has been found to show cometary activity. The preliminary orbit assumed that it was near perihelion, and was at 11.52 AU. Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2003-A78 [2003 January 14] that
    the assumed perihelic parabolic orbit is very tentative. It seems likely that the object is a Centaur, showing cometary activity as (2060) = 95P/Chiron has shown near perihelion.
    A revised orbit [MPEC 2003-C47, 2003 February 8], including prediscovery observations by Palomar/NEAT (found and measured in NEAT data by Sebastian Hoenig and R Stoss), confirms these general circumstances. The latest orbit [MPEC 2003-G50, 2003 April 9] puts perihelion in 2003 November at 11.4 AU, with the comet currently 11.5 AU from the Sun. The perihelion distance is the largest on record.

    Arianna E. Gleason, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, reports her discovery of a slow-moving comet of 20th mag on Jan. 10.39 UT with the Spacewatch II telescope at Kitt Peak; J. V. Scotti adds that there was a more-or-less symmetrical coma about 20" across. On making follow-up observations on Jan. 11.3 (after placement on The NEO Confirmation Page), D. T. Durig and H. H. Fry (Sewanee, TN, 0.3-m f/5.75 Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector) confirmed a coma 15"-18" in diameter, and F. B. Zoltowski (Edgewood, NM, 0.3-m f/3.3 Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector) noted that the coma/tail structure had the appearance of a broad fan from p.a. 20 deg northward through p.a. 200 deg. On Jan. 12.0, J. Ticha and M. Tichy (Klet Observatory, 1.06-m KLENOT Telescope) indicated a coma diameter of 8"-10", with m_1 = 20.2 and m_2 = 21.0. The object's cometary nature was also noted by T. Gehrels (Spacewatch II) on Jan. 11-13 and by J. G. Ries (McDonald Observatory, 0.76-m reflector) on Jan. 14.3. [IAUC 8049, 2003 January 15]

    Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2003-G49 [2003 April 9] that the "original" and "future" barycentric values of 1/a are +0.000059 and +0.000152 (+/- 0.000016) AU**-1, respectively, suggesting that this is a "new" comet from the Oort cloud. The current orbit is now strongly hyperbolic.


    A/2003 AC1 (LINEAR) is an asteroid, of 20th magnitude, discovered by LINEAR on 2003 January 1.43. It is in a 5.7 year orbit, with perihelion at 1.09 AU and an eccentricity of 0.66. It is at perihelion in mid February and will brighten a little. [MPEC 2003-A13, 2003 January 3, 2-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet and it can approach within 1 AU of Jupiter, though it has not done so over the last century. It approaches to 0.20 AU of the Earth at this return and this is one of its closest approaches.
    A/2003 AK73 (NEAT) is an asteroid, of 19th magnitude, discovered by Palomar NEAT on 2003 January 11.22. It is in a 5.1 year orbit, with perihelion at 0.76 AU and an eccentricity of 0.74. It is past perihelion and will fade. [MPEC 2002-A73, 2003 January 13, 2-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet and it has made several encounters within 1 AU of Jupiter over the last century. It can also approach quite close to the Earth and was 0.11 AU away in December. It can approach within 0.07 AU of our planet.
    A/2003 BM1 (NEAT) is an asteroid, of 20th magnitude, discovered by Palomar NEAT on 2003 January 24.32. It is in a 7.8 year orbit, with perihelion at 1.86 AU and an eccentricity of 0.53. Perihelion is in mid March, but the brightness will not change significantly. [MPEC 2003-B29, 2003 January 27, 3-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet. The object encounters Jupiter at both nodes and can approach within 0.35 AU.
    A/2003 BU35 [LINEAR] is an asteroid, discovered by LINEAR on 2003 January 29. It is in a 7.2 year orbit, with perihelion at 1.73 AU and an eccentricity of 0.54. It is next at perihelion in 2010 March. It will be at its brightest (18th mag) in 2009 December. [MPEC 2009-W137, 2009 November 29] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet and it can approach within 0.2 AU of Jupiter. The Tisserand parameter with respect to Jupiter is 2.82.
    A/2003 BD44 (LONEOS) is an asteroid, of 19th magnitude, discovered by LONEOS on 2003 January 30.31. It is in a 5.6 year orbit, with perihelion at 0.67 AU and an eccentricity of 0.79. Perihelion is at the beginning of July, but the brightness will not change significantly. [MPEC 2002-B54, 2003 January 31, 2-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet. It approached within 0.3 AU of Jupiter in October 2001 and will approach within 0.3 AU of the Earth in July. It is a potentially hazardous object, passing 0.011 AU from the Earth's orbit at the ascending node.
    2003 CP7 (P/LINEAR-NEAT) A 18th magnitude comet discovered on NEAT Palomar images obtained on March 10.36, and posted on the NEO Confirmation Page, was reported by K. Lawrence as showing a nuclear condensation of diameter about 7" and a tail about 8" long toward the west. The cometary nature was confirmed by J. Young at Table Mountain on Mar. 12.4 UT. The Minor Planet Center has linked this object to an apparently asteroidal LINEAR object of mag 19.0 on Feb. 1.39 and 4 that was designated 2003 CP_7 (MPS 73383-73384, Feb. 16). [IAUC 8092, 2003 March 12] The comet is a distant one, with period of 8.05 years and will fade.
    A/2003 CO1 (NEAT) is an asteroid, of 20th magnitude, discovered by Palomar NEAT on 2003 February 1.42. It is in a 96 year orbit, with perihelion at 10.94 AU and an eccentricity of 0.48. [MPEC 2003-F03, 2003 March 17, 1-year orbit] The orbit is typical of a Chiron like object. It is still approaching perihelion, which is in August 2006, so it may yet show cometary activity.
    A/2003 CC11 (LINEAR) is an asteroid, of 19th magnitude, discovered by LINEAR on 2003 February 4.16. It was at perihelion in mid February and will fade. [MPEC 2003-C31, 2003 February 5, 2-day orbit]  It is in a 5.5 year orbit, with perihelion at 1.28 AU and an eccentricity of 0.59. The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet and it can approach within 0.6 AU of Jupiter and 0.30 AU of the Earth.  It is classed as an Amor asteroid.  It was re-observed in 2013.
    A/2003 CC22 (CFHT) is an asteroid, of 22nd magnitude, discovered by a team using the 3.6-m Canada-France- Hawaii and 2.2-m University of Hawaii telescopes on Mauna Kea on 2003 February 8.34. It is in a 21 year orbit, with perihelion at 4.20 AU and an eccentricity of 0.44. It is at perihelion in September and will fade. [MPEC 2002-G16, 2003 April 3, 1-month orbit] The orbit is unusual, crossing that of Jupiter and Saturn, both of which it can approach to within 1 AU..
    2003 E1 (NEAT) S. Pravdo reports another NEAT comet discovery, found on March 9.51 at 20th magnitude, the object having a tail extending about 8" in p.a. 215 deg on Mar. 11. Young also found it cometary on Mar. 12. The available astrometry, very uncertain parabolic orbital elements [T = 2004 Mar. 13.3 TT, Peri. = 110.8 deg, Node = 141.9 deg, i = 37.6 deg (equinox 2000.0), q = 2.950 AU], and an ephemeris appear on MPEC 2003-E48. [IAUC 8092, 2003 March 12] Follow up observations show that comet is an intermediate period one, returning every 51 years and reaching perihelion in mid February 2004 at 3.2 AU. Its brightness will not change significantly over the next six months.
    A/2003 EH1 (LONEOS) is an Amor type asteroid, and was 19th magnitude when discovered by LONEOS on 2003 March 6.11.

    The initial orbit on MPEC 2003-E27 [2003 March 7] was not particularly unusual, apart from a high inclination, however further observations have given a higher eccentricity. Peter Jenniskens has noted a close similarity to the orbit of the Quadrantid meteors. It is worth further study to see if it shows any cometary activity. The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet and it can approach within 0.3 AU AU of Jupiter and the Earth. The object is in a 5.53 year orbit, with perihelion at 1.19 AU and an eccentricity of 0.62. It was at perihelion in late February and will fade.

    P. Jenniskens, NASA Ames Research Center, has pointed out that 2003 EH_1 (cf. MPEC 2003-E27) would seem to be a very strong candidate for the parent of the Quadrantid meteor stream. The later orbits, from arcs of up to 48 days (MPO 48330), indicate that frequent approaches within 0.2-0.3 AU of Jupiter occur, those during the past century or two evidently increasing q from just under 1 AU (with other orbital elements also very similar to those of the Quadrantids) to the present 1.19 AU. The current theoretical radiant for 2003 EH_1 (R.A. = 229.9 deg, Decl. = +49.6 deg; V_inf = 41.7 km/s at solar longitude 282.94 deg, equinox 2000.0) is at the center of the Quadrantid radiants measured by photographic means, the narrow dispersion implying a young (about 500 years) shower age. From that dispersion, Jenniskens et al. (1997, Astron. Astrophys. 327, 1242) suspected that the parent was still among the meteoroids, hiding as a minor planet. On computing a parabolic orbit for C/1490 Y1, Hasegawa (1979, Publ. Astron. Soc. Japan 31, 257) introduced that comet as the likely Quadrantid parent. In attempting to link the 2003 observations to those of 1490-1491, Jenniskens, and also B. G. Marsden (Center for Astrophysics), have found that most of the potential solutions with the required Jan. 1491 perihelion date yield 0.5 < q < 0.6 AU in 1491, and this is probably too small to fit the data used by Hasegawa. Values in the more acceptable range of 0.7 < q < 0.8 AU (and 0.80 > e > 0.75) certainly arise for 1488 < T < 1494, however, the desired date being clearly attainable with the help also of a close approach to the earth or -- more likely -- the presence of nongravitational forces. Further light could be shed on the problem by the recognition of precovery and/or recovery observations of 2003 EH_1, which is presumably a comet and that should in any case be considered a high-priority object for further study. [IAUC 8252, 2003 December 8]

    Additional observations of the object were made at the end of December 2003 and early January 2004 from ESO, La Silla and these, together with a revised orbit appeared on MPEC 2004-N22 [2004 July 5]. Brian Marsden notes

    This is the presumed parent of the Quadrantid meteors (cf. IAUC 8252). The recovery observations are still insufficient to shed much light on the suggested identity with comet C/1490 Y1.
    It is currently a southern hemisphere object and approaching aphelion, so a difficult object to observe at 24th magnitude.
    A/2003 EJ59 (LINEAR) is an asteroid, of 18th magnitude, discovered by LINEAR on 2003 March 12.24. It is in a 5.8 year orbit, with perihelion at 1.21 AU and an eccentricity of 0.62. It is at perihelion in mid March and will fade. [MPEC 2003-E55, 2003 March 14, 2-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet and it can approach within 0.2 AU of Jupiter and the Earth.
    2003 F1 (LINEAR) was discovered by LINEAR on March 23.43. It has a perihelion distance of 4 AU and a period of 94 years. It will not brighten significantly from its current 16th magnitude, reaching perihelion at the end of June.

    An apparently asteroidal object of 18th magnitude, discovered by the LINEAR project on March 23.43, and posted on the NEO Confirmation Page, has been found to have cometary appearance by numerous CCD observers on Mar. 24-25 (who have reported diffuseness, a coma diameter of up to 10", and a tail of length 7"-40" in p.a. 300-330 deg), including A. R. Apitzsch (Wildberg, Germany); S. Sanchez, R. Stoss, and J. Nomen (Mallorca, Spain); M. Froehlich (Essen, Germany); G. Hug (Eskridge, KS; m_1 = 16.7); J. E. Arlot (Observatoire de Haute Provence); H. Mikuz (Crni Vrh, Slovenia); and L. Buzzi (Varese, Italy; m_1 = 17.7). Available astrometry, very preliminary parabolic orbital elements (q = 3.9 AU, T = 2002 July 31), and an ephemeris appear on MPEC 2003-F35. [IAUC 8098, 2003 March 25]


    2003 F2 (P/NEAT) is a distant periodic comet discovered by NEAT on March 27.20. It has a perihelion distance of 2.9 AU, a period of 16 years and will fade. Syiuchi Nakano notes that the preliminary orbit is very similar to that of 2001 BB50 (P/LINEAR-NEAT) and that both objects were last at perihelion in late March 1987. Maik Meyer notes that based on the present orbits their separation was only 0.016 AU in July 1989. Further observations unfortunately remove the possibility of splitting at the last return, although retain the similarity of the orbits. Nakano also notes that the angular elements of the orbit are similar to those of C/1931 AN, which has a poorly defined orbit based on observations made over a few days.

    An apparently asteroidal object of 20th magnitude, found by the NEAT project on March 27.20, and posted on the NEO Confirmation Page, has been reported as faintly cometary by a few observers. G. Masi reports that CCD observations in good conditions (0".9 seeing) with the Danish 1.54-m telescope at the European Southern Observatory on Mar. 28.3 and 29.1 UT show the object to be nonstellar, with a slight elongation toward p.a. 315 deg, such that a nuclear condensation appears on the southeast side of a coma that has size 5".5 along a southeast-northwest axis and 4" along a northeast-southwest axis. Images taken with the 1.06-m KLENOT telescope at Klet on Mar. 31.9 by M. Tichy and M. Kocer show the object as slightly diffuse with a coma diameter of 6". [IAUC 8104, 2003 April 1]


    2003 G1 (LINEAR) was discovered by LINEAR on April 8.45. It has a perihelion distance of 4.9 AU. It was at perihelion in early February and will not brighten significantly from its current 15th magnitude.

    An apparently asteroidal object of 17th magnitude, discovered by LINEAR on April 8.45, and posted on the NEO Confirmation Page, has been found to be cometary by several CCD observers, including L. Sarounova and P. Kusnirak (Ondrejov), A. Galad (Modra), P. Birtwhistle (Great Shefford, U.K.), G. Hug (Eskridge, KS), P. R. Holvorcem (0.81-m Tenagra II telescope; m_1 = 15.4 on Apr. 9.46 UT), and M. Tichy (Klet). The general description of the comet gives a coma of diameter 8"-15" and a straight tail about 40"-90" long in p.a. 210-225 deg during Apr. 9.1-10.0. The available astrometry, preliminary parabolic orbital elements (T = 2003 Feb. 7, q = 4.9 AU, i = 67 deg), and ephemeris appear on MPEC 2003-G56. [IAUC 8115, 2003 April 10]

    Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2003-P15 [2003 August 6] that the "original" and "future" barycentric values of 1/a are +0.000014 and -0.000372 (+/- 0.000005) AU**-1, respectively, suggesting that this is a "new" comet from the Oort cloud.


    2003 G2 (LINEAR) was discovered by LINEAR on April 8.38. It has a perihelion distance of 1.6 AU. It is near perihelion and will not brighten significantly from its current 17th magnitude.

    L. Manguso, Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reports the LINEAR discovery of a comet with a 13" coma visible on Apr. 9-10 (discovered on April 8.38 at 18th magnitude). Following posting on the NEO Confirmation Page, the object was also reported to have cometary appearance by G. Hug (Eskridge, KS, 0.3-m reflector; diffuse with m_1 = 16.6 on Apr. 9.4 UT and m_1 = 17.3 on Apr. 10.4) and by A. C. Gilmore and P. M. Kilmartin (Mt. John University Observatory, 0.6-m reflector; diffuse on Apr. 11.6). [IAUC 8116, 2003 April 11]


    2003 G3 (SOHO) was a non group comet discovered by John Sachs in C3 and C2 images on April 4. The prefered retrograde orbit suggests that it will be at around 30 degrees elongation from the Sun in late April and early May.
    A/2003 GS22 (Kitt Peak) is an asteroid, of 21st magnitude, discovered by R S McMillan with the 0.9-m telescope at the Steward Observatory, Kitt Peak on 2003 April 7.40. It is in a 5.1 year orbit, with perihelion at 1.15 AU and an eccentricity of 0.61. It was at perihelion in March and will fade. [MPEC 2003-G44, 2003 April 9, 2-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet. It can approach to within 0.25 AU of Jupiter and approached to within 0.18 AU of the Earth in February.
    2003 H1 (LINEAR) was discovered by LINEAR on April 24.38. It reached perihelion at 2.2 AU in late February 2004. It came into visual range in January, but is now past its best. I was able to glimpse it under transparent Antarctic skies on March 16.31 estimating it at 11.4:, with a 1.3', DC2 coma in my 9cm f5.6 refractor x40. The wind had been 15 - 20 knots, but dropped to 5 knots at the time of the observation, with an air temperature of -2 Celcius. A quarter moon, only slightly brightened the sky. Under very clear skies, just outside Stanley, Falkland Islands I made another observation, recording the comet at 11.3 with a 2.4' diameter coma in the 0.09-m refractor. The main difficulty of observing was wind, but conditions were OK in the lee of some rocks.

    An apparently asteroidal 17th magnitude object reported by LINEAR on April 24.38, and posted on the NEO Confirmation Page, has been reported to be cometary on Apr. 25 CCD frames taken by H. Mikuz (Crni Vrh, 0.60-m reflector + R filter; strongly condensed with coma diameter about 20" and m_1 = 15.9), P. Kusnirak (Ondrejov, 0.65-m reflector; "seems to be slightly diffuse"), and T. Spahr (Mount Hopkins, 1.2-m reflector; faint fan-shaped tail about 5" long toward the south). [IAUC 8122, 2003 April 25]

    Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2003-P16 [2003 August 6] that the "original" and "future" barycentric values of 1/a are +0.000745 and +0.000450 (+/- 0.000008) AU**-1, respectively, suggesting that this is not a "new" comet from the Oort cloud.

    Observations in ICQ format, Last observation 2004 April 17, updated 2004 September 19.


    2003 H2 (LINEAR) was discovered by LINEAR on April 24.40. It is near perihelion at 2.2 AU and will not brighten significantly from its current 17th magnitude. The orbit is a long period ellipse, with period around 240 years.

    Another apparently asteroidal object of 19th magnitude reported by LINEAR on April 24.40, and posted on the NEO Confirmation Page, has also been reported to be cometary on CCD frames taken on Apr. 25 by Mikuz (diffuse with condensation and coma diameter about 20"), M. Tichy (Klet, 1.06-m reflector; diffuse with faint tail in p.a. 270 deg), and Kusnirak (coma diameter about 10"). [IAUC 8122, 2003 April 25]

    Further to IAUC 8122, J. McGaha (Tucson, AZ) reports that six stacked 2-min CCD exposures taken on Apr. 25.3 UT (0.30-m reflector) show a 6" coma and a 10" tail in p.a. 50 deg. [IAUC 8125, 2003 April 30]

    Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2003-P17 [2003 August 6] that the "original" and "future" barycentric values of 1/a are +0.026849 and +0.026146 (+/- 0.000000) AU**-1, respectively, confirming that this is not a "new" comet from the Oort cloud.


    2003 H3 (NEAT) was discovered by NEAT on April 30.45. It was near perihelion at 2.9 AU and will not brighten significantly from its present 16th magnitude.

    S. H. Pravdo, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, reports the NEAT discovery on Haleakala images of a 17th magnitude comet on April 30.45 with a coma diameter of about 14" and an unresolved core of diameter about 4" or less. Following posting on the NEO Confirmation Page, other observers have also reported the cometary appearance from CCD images, including J. E. McGaha (0.30-m reflector, Tucson, AZ; fainter outer coma of diameter about 10" with a brighter core of diameter about 5"); J. Young (0.6-m reflector, Table Mountain; coma diameter about 8", and 16" tail in p.a. 250 deg, affected by cirrus clouds), and P. R. Holvorcem and M. Schwartz (Tenagra IV 0.36-m telescope, near Nogales, AZ; coma diameter 28" and m_1 = 15.4-15.7 on May 1.47). [IAUC 8126, 2003 May 1]

    Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2003-P18 [2003 August 6] that the "original" and "future" barycentric values of 1/a are +0.000438 and -0.000114 (+/- 0.000005) AU**-1, respectively, suggesting that this is not a "new" comet from the Oort cloud.


    2003 H4 (P/LINEAR) was discovered by LINEAR on April 29.33. It is near perihelion at 1.70 AU and will not brighten significantly from its present 18th magnitude. The preliminary observations suggest a period of around 6.1 years. The comet approached within 0.46 AU of Jupiter in December 2000 and approached the planet even closer at some previous returns. An encounter to within 0.02 AU in April 2012 will reduce the perihelion distance to 1.17 AU, though the subsequent two apparitions are not particularly favourable.

    M. Bezpalko, Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reports the discovery by LINEAR of a comet with a tail in p.a. 270 deg on images taken on Apr. 29.3 UT. Following posting on the NEO Confirmation Page, other CCD observers have also reported the object as cometary, including G. J. Garradd (Tamworth, N.S.W., 0.45-m reflector; slightly diffuse on most images taken on Apr. 30.6), J. E. McGaha (Tucson, AZ, 0.30-m reflector; faint coma of size 5" x 10" and m_1 = 17.7-17.9, aligned north-south, with uniform brightness and no apparent nuclear condensation or core on May 2.2), and J. G. Ries (McDonald Observatory, 0.76-m reflector; 20" tail pointing slightly south of west on May 2.3; m_1 = 17.7-18.0). [IAUC 8127, 2003 May 1]

    Orbital elements on MPEC 2003-K34, indicate that this comet passed 0.07 AU from Jupiter in June 1929, before which q and P were larger. [IAUC 8135, 2003 May 24]


    2003 H6 (SOHO) 2003 H7 (SOHO) were non group comets discovered by Rainer Kracht in C2 images on April 30. They are clearly related to each other.
    2003 HT15 (P/LINEAR) An apparently asteroidal object of 18th magntiude found by LINEAR on April 26.26 was found to be cometary by Carl Hergenrother on images taken with the Mount Hobkins 1.2-m telescope on June 24.3. The comet has perihelion at 2.7 AU and a period of 9.9 years. It will fade.

    An apparently asteroidal object reported by LINEAR (discovery observation published on MPS 78496; prediscovery LINEAR observations published on MPS 80247; orbital elements on MPO 48372) has been found cometary by C. Hergenrother, who reports a diffuse coma of diameter 15" (and mag 18.6 within an aperture of radius 8") and a broad tail 60" long in p.a. 115 deg on co-added 900-s R-band images taken on June 24.3 UT with the Mount Hopkins 1.2-m reflector. [IAUC 8156, 2003 June 25]


    A/2003 HP32 (Kitt Peak) is an asteroid, of 21st magnitude, discovered by J A Larsen with the 0.9-m telescope at the Steward Observatory, Kitt Peak on 2003 April 26.31. It is in a 5.1 year orbit, with perihelion at 0.56 AU and an eccentricity of 0.81. It reaches perihelion at the end of August, but will remain near its current magnitude for the next few months. [MPEC 2003-H50, 2003 April 30, 4-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet. It can approach to within 0.3 AU of Jupiter and within 0.1 AU of the Earth.
    2003 J1 (NEAT) was discovered by NEAT on May 13.59. Originally reported at 19.4, amateur CCD observations put it at around 17th magnitude. It reaches perihelion at 5.1 AU in October.

    K. J. Lawrence, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, reports the discovery by NEAT of a comet on May 13.59. Following posting on the NEO Confirmation Page, other CCD observers reported the following total magnitudes and coma diameters: May 14.5 UT, m_1 = 16.4-17.0, 10" (P. Holvorcem, Tenagra II 0.81-m telescope; three co-added 120-s exposures); 15.5, 17.5, 8" (J. Young, Table Mountain, CA, 0.6-m reflector). [IAUC 8133, 2003 May 17]

    Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2003-O37 [2003 July 30] that the "original" and "future" barycentric values of 1/a are +0.001841 and +0.001804 (+/- 0.000077) AU**-1, respectively, suggesting that this is not a "new" comet from the Oort cloud.


    A/2003 JC11 (Kitt Peak) is an asteroid, of 21st magnitude, discovered by J V Scotti with the 0.9-m telescope at the Steward Observatory, Kitt Peak on 2003 May 1.40. It is in a 5.3 year orbit, with perihelion at 1.35 AU and an eccentricity of 0.56. It was at perihelion at the end of November and will fade. [MPEC 2003-J35, 2003 May 6, 5-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet, though there have been no recent close approaches to either Jupiter or the Earth.

    It was refound as 2008 JL14, also at Kitt Peak. The linked orbit has a period of 5.0 years, with perihelion at 1.28 AU. The earth MOID is 0.46 AU. [MPEC 2008-O29, 2008 July 26]


    2003 K1 (Spacewatch) An object initially reported as asteroidal by Spacewatch has been found to be cometary by other observers, including some using the 0.41-m OAM relector at Costitx, Mallorca. It is past perihelion and will fade from 18th magnitude.

    An object of 20th magnitude initially reported as asteroidal by J. A. Larsen on CCD images obtained with the 0.9-m Spacewatch reflector on May 23.38 was posted on the NEO Confirmation Page. CCD images taken by A. Lopez and R. Pacheco (Mallorca, 0.41-m reflector) on May 23.9 UT showed cometary appearance (and m_1 = 18.2-18.6). A. E. Gleason found the coma to be quite obvious on May 24.3 images taken with the 1.8-m Spacewatch II reflector at Kitt Peak, and Larsen found a 10" coma on Spacewatch I images taken on May 24.4. [IAUC 8135, 2003 May 24]


    2003 K2 (P/Christensen) An object discovered by the Catalina sky survey on May 26.18 was quickly confirmed as cometary. It passed perihelion at 0.55 AU in April, but is intrinsically faint. It was visible on SWAN imagery and at brightest probably reached 10th magnitude; it seems likely that it was the object reported in SWAN imagery between April 5 to 19, but which was not confirmed visually due to low elevation and poor elongation from the Sun. It will fade from 14th magnitude. Its elongation remains relatively small and it will not be favourably placed for observation. As astrometric observation accumulated there was increasing evidence that it was a short period comet, with a period between 12 and 17 years and perihelion distance around 0.6 AU. These indications from orbits by Muraoka and others were confirmed on IAUC 8145 [2003 June 7] which gave an orbit with period of 6.5 years. Further orbit computations by Muraoka, Stoss and others using data up to June 15 have revised the orbit, and there are no significant changes to the orbit at the next return. The period is still uncertain by 1.5 months. An orbit by Marsden published on MPEC 2003-M70 [2003 June 30] gives P as 5.75 years and q at 0.55 AU.

    Eric Christensen, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, reports the discovery of a 15th magnitude comet on May 26.18 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). [IAUC 8136, 2003 May 27]

    It has been noted by numerous individuals that the preliminary orbital elements of comet C/2003 K2 (cf. IAUC 8136) place it close to the position of an unconfirmed object found on SWAN ultraviolet SOHO website images and reported to the Central Bureau on Apr. 14 by X.-m. Zhou (Bo-le, Xin-jiang, China). Measurements of the object on six dates, Apr. 5-19, were forwarded to the Central Bureau by Zhou (via D. H. Chen), by M. Mattiazzo, and by S. Hoenig; the positions differed considerably, due to the poor resolution of SWAN (uncertainty on the order of 1 degree). Two search ephemerides based on various positions were circulated by the Bureau to numerous visual and CCD observers in the hopes of optical confirmation, but the searches (undertaken during the last week of April by Zhou, A. Hale, Mattiazzo, Y. Kushida, and Y. Ezaki) revealed nothing to as faint as mag 14.5. The following improved parabolic orbital elements for C/2003 K2 (from MPEC 2003-K49) indicate that the search-ephemeris positions in late April for the SWAN object were no closer than about 2.5 degrees from C/2003 K2. The comet might be of short period. [IAUC 8138, 2003 May 30]


    2003 K3 (SOHO) was a faint non group comet discovered by Heiner Otterstedt in C3 images on May 25. It appeared to be fading in images from late on May 28, although not due at perihelion until June 1. The preliminary orbit suggested that it would reach 25 degrees elongation from the Sun in mid June, but was not reported by ground based observers in the Southern Hemisphere. It was not favourably placed for discovery prior to perihelion.
    2003 K4 (LINEAR) An apparently asteroidal object of 18th magnitude found by LINEAR on May 28.38 has been found to be cometary by other observers. The preliminary orbit suggested that it was a distant object with perihelion at 8.5 AU in September, however other, more interesting orbit solutions were possible according to Maik Meyer. New elements issued on MPEC 2003-L08 [2003 June 3] confirmed the more interesting orbit, and the latest put perihelion at 1.02 AU on 2004 October 13.8. The apparition circumstances are not particularly favourable.

    By early August 2003 it had brightened to 16th magnitude (CCD). The first visual observations were made in February 2004. Initially it only brightened slowly and reached 10th magnitude at the end of May. During June it has brightened quite rapidly and reached 8th magnitude mid month and was approaching 7th magnitude by the end of the month. It has passed its most northerly declination and is now heading south. On July 15 Juan José González observing from Leon in Spain reported glimpsing the comet with the naked eye. During the rest of July and up to mid August there was little change in brightness, with the comet remaining at around 6.5. As it got lower in northern skies it become harder to observe, however I managed to make a final observation of it on September 1.9, estimating it at around 6.5.

    It passed through the SOHO LASCO fields as a 7m object from 2004 September 27 to 2004 October 13, rather fainter than was expected. Alexandre Amorim recovered it at 7.3 in 20x80B on October 26.11. Andrew Pearce reports detecting an anti-tail on November 13.80, when the comet was 7.2 in 20x80B. The orbital plane crossing was on October 11.7 according to calculations by Akimasa Nakamura. The comet remained fainter than expected, but fading only very slowly until 2005 January, when it seemed to resume fading on the previous light curve.

    An apparently asteroidal object found by the LINEAR survey on May 28.38, posted on the NEO Confirmation Page, has been found to show a round coma of diameter 5"-7" (m_1 = 17.5) on CCD images taken by J. Young on May 29.5 and 30.4 UT with the 0.6-m reflector at Table Mountain. J. McGaha, Tucson, AZ, reports that three stacked, 2-min CCD images, taken on May 29.4 with a 0.30-m reflector, show a 3" nuclear condensation and a 6" coma that is offset to the northeast. [IAUC 8139, 2003 May 30]

    Further to IAUC 8358, R. W. Russell, D. L. Kim, M. L. Sitko, and W. J. Carpenter report 3-13-micron spectrophotometry of comet C/2003 K4, obtained on June 20.3 UT at Mt. Lemmon (integration times 90 min on the comet; reference star alpha Boo): "A continuum, smooth to within the signal-to-noise, was seen to rise from 3.5 to 8 microns, beyond which a weak silicate emission band may have been observed. An underlying blackbody continuum with a temperature of about 235 +/- 10 K was fit to the continuum fluxes at 8.4 and 12 microns. This grain temperature is about 22 +/- 5 percent higher than that of an equilibrium blackbody at the comet's heliocentric distance. Using the same wavelength region (10.34-10.71 microns) as for other, brighter comets in order to calculate a silicate- feature-to-continuum ratio, the possible silicate feature was about 1.10 +/- 0.05 times higher than the continuum, with the silicate- feature-to-continuum ratio > 1. The comet showed the following narrowband (about 0.25 micron) magnitudes and combined random errors: [8.0 microns] = 4.25 +/- 0.10; [10.5 microns] = 2.41 +/- 0.06; [12 microns] = 1.76 +/- 0.06. Due to the low flux level of the comet and the weakness of its silicate feature, no structure due to crystalline material was discernible." [IAUC 8361, 2004 June 24]

    C. E. Woodward and M. S. Kelley, University of Minnesota; and D. H. Wooden, Ames Research Center, NASA, report 8-13-micron spectrophotometry of comets 2001 Q4 and 2003 K4 using the NASA Ames HIFOGS spectrometer at the Infrared Telescope Facility 3-m reflector: "Weak silicate-feature emission (cf. IAUC 8360, 8339) is present in the 10-micron spectra of C/2001 Q4 on July 28.24 UT, when the observed N-band magnitude (3" circular aperture) was 3.7 +/- 0.4. Preliminary analysis of the featureless 10-micron spectra of C/2003 K4 suggests that large amorphous carbon and silicate grains (radius approximately > 0.7 micron) dominate the coma. Further to IAUC 8361, no structure attributable to crystalline silicates was evident. The observed N-band magnitudes (3" circular aperture) of C/2003 K4 were: July 26.24, 3.6 +/- 0.4; 27.24, 3.4 +/- 0.2." [IAUC 8378, 2004 August 3]

    M. L. Sitko, University of Cincinnati; R. W. Russell, D. K. Lynch, and D. L. Kim, Aerospace Corporation; and R. B. Perry, Langley Research Center, NASA, report on further infrared spectrophotometry of comet C/2003 K4 (cf. IAUC 8361, 8378), obtained on Aug. 5.3 and 6.3 UT using the Aerospace Corporation's BASS spectrograph at the Infrared Telescope Facility 3-m reflector. A smooth continuum was seen between 8 and 13 microns, with a possible weak silicate emission band superimposed. Underlying blackbodies with temperatures of 250 +/- 5 K and 245 +/- 5 K were fitted to the continuum fluxes at 8.4 and 12 microns on Aug. 5 and 6, respectively. These grain temperatures are about 8-10 percent higher than that of an equilibrium blackbody at the comet's heliocentric distance. Using the 10.2-10.7-microns region to calculate a silicate feature-to-continuum ratio, this ratio was 1.09 +/- 0.03 on Aug. 5, and 1.03 +/- 0.03 on Aug. 6. On Aug. 5, a weak feature due to crystalline olivine may have been present at 11.2 microns. Scattered solar radiation was evident at wavelengths shorter than 4 microns. The observed magnitudes determined between 10.2 and 10.7 microns, using the instrument's 3".4 aperture and 18" nod, were 2.8 and 2.7 on Aug. 5 and 6, respectively (+/- 0.03 mag, the errors being dominated by the presence of variable sky transparency during the observations). [IAUC 8391, 2004 August 18]

    Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2003-R44 [2003 September 9] that the "original" and "future" barycentric values of 1/a are +0.000020 and -0.000199 (+/- 0.000014) AU**-1, respectively, suggesting that this is a "new" comet from the Oort cloud.

    550 observations received so far give a preliminary light curve of m = 4.0 + 5 log d + 11.1 log r, though this does not fit the observations made close to conjunction very well.

    Observations in ICQ format, Last observation 2005 February 15, updated 2005 March 1.


    2003 KV2 (P/LINEAR) An asteroidal object of 18th magnitude discovered by LINEAR on May 23.16 has been found to be cometary by other observers. It reaches perihelion on July 10 at 1.06 AU and has a period of 4.85 years, the third shortest amongst currently extant comets. It passed within 0.55 AU of Jupiter in February 2001, before which the perihelion distance was somewhat larger. It will not get much brighter than its present magnitude. The preliminary orbit given on MPEC 2003 K27 was not particularly cometary, whereas that for 2003 KU2 looked more promising.

    Another apparently asteroidal LINEAR object found on May 23.16, announced on MPEC 2003-K27 as 2003 KV_2 (see also MPEC 2003-K38 and 2003-K47), has been found cometary on R-band images taken by C. Brinkworth and M. Burleigh on May 28.9 and 29.9 UT with the 1-m Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope on La Palma (communicated by A. Fitzsimmons), in which the object shows a tail about 4"-5" long in p.a. 125 deg and a small coma that is somewhat larger than the surrounding field stars. The preliminary orbit shows a passage 0.55 AU from Jupiter in Jan. 2001, before which the perihelion distance was somewhat larger. [IAUC 8139, 2003 May 30]

    Observations in ICQ format, No positive observations, updated 2003 October 25.


    A/2003 KP2 (LINEAR) is an asteroid, of 19th magnitude, discovered by LINEAR on 2003 May 22.34. It is in a 4.53 year orbit, with perihelion at 0.82 AU and an eccentricity of 0.70. It will be at perihelion in mid October and will brighten a little. [MPEC 2003-R63, 2003 September 13] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet, though there have been no recent close approaches to Jupiter. It will pass 0.18 AU from the Earth in early October.
    A/2003 KU2 (Kitt Peak) is an asteroid, of 20th magnitude, discovered by A Tubbiolo with the 0.9-m telescope at the Steward Observatory, Kitt Peak on 2003 May 22.29. It is in a 4.6 year orbit, with perihelion at 0.80 AU and an eccentricity of 0.71. It will be at perihelion at the end of October and will brighten a little. [MPEC 2003-K26, 2003 May 24, 2-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet, though there have been no recent close approaches to either Jupiter or the Earth. It is a potentially hazardous asteroid passing 0.026 AU from Earth at the ascending node.
    2003 L1 (P/Scotti) Jim Scotti discovered this faint comet in Spacewatch data. Further prediscovery images were found in Palomar NEAT data from 2002 April. The comet is three months past perihelion, which was at 5.0 AU. The period is 17.3 years. It will fade.

    J. V. Scotti, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, reports the discovery of a 20th mag comet on CCD images taken with the Spacewatch 0.9-m f/3 reflector at Kitt Peak on June 4.21, showing a coma of diameter 6" and a faint tail about 0'.62 long in p.a. 273 deg. Images taken by A. S. Descour on June 5.3 UT with the 1.8-m f/2.7 Spacewatch reflector also show a tail, and June 7.2 images by Scotti with the larger instrument show the tail 0'.30 long in p.a. 273 deg. [IAUC 8145, 2003 June 7]

    Clearly diffuse NEAT images of this comet, taken with the Palomar 1.2-m Schmidt telescope on three nights in 2002 April, were identified and measured by M. Meyer. Additional astrometry and the following orbital elements (MPEC 2003-M21) confirm the suspicion (cf. IAUC 8145) that this is a short-period comet. [IAUC 8153, 2003 June 19]


    2003 L2 (LINEAR) was discovered by LINEAR on June 12.33. It will reach perihelion at 2.9 AU in mid January 2004 and will brighten a bit from its current 18th magnitude.

    An apparently asteroidal object found by LINEAR, and posted on the NEO Confirmation Page, has been found to be cometary on CCD images taken by S. Sanchez, R. Stoss, and J. Nomen (Mallorca, 0.30-m f/9 reflector; 10" coma on June 12.95 UT) and by S. Gajdos (Modra, 0.6-m f/5.5 reflector; diffuse with coma diameter about 5" on June 13.97; m_1 = 18.0). [IAUC 8151, 2003 June 14]

    Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2003-R45 [2003 September 9] that the "original" and "future" barycentric values of 1/a are +0.006356 and +0.006809 (+/- 0.000011) AU**-1, respectively, and the eccentricity is 0.9814155 showing that this is not a "new" comet from the Oort cloud.


    A/2003 MT (Kitt Peak) is an asteroid, of 19th magnitude, discovered by M T Read with the 0.9-m telescope at the Steward Observatory, Kitt Peak on 2003 June 23.20. It is in a 5.3 year orbit, with perihelion at 1.22 AU and an eccentricity of 0.60. It will be at perihelion in early August but will fade. [MPEC 2003-M42, 2003 June 24, 1-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet, though there have been no recent close approaches to either Jupiter or the Earth.
    A/2003 MT9 (LINEAR) is an asteroid, of 20th magnitude, discovered by LINEAR on 2003 June 30.38. It is in a 4.1 year orbit, with perihelion at 0.20 AU and an eccentricity of 0.92. It was at perihelion in mid August. [MPEC 2003-N09, 2003 July 3, 3-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet, and it can approach Jupiter to within 0.4 AU. It is a potentially hazardous asteroid approaching the Earth to 0.041 AU at the ascending node.
    2003 O1 (LINEAR) An 18th magnitude comet was discovered by LINEAR on July 20.13. The provisional orbit (given to rather high accuracy for only a three day arc) suggests that it is a distant object some way from perihelion at 4.5 AU. Nick James reports imaging it on July 20.97 in a rather crowded field, with Peter Birtwhistle imaging it on July 20.95 and Stephen Laurie on July 20.96. Further observations confirm the distant orbit, though with perihelion at 6.8 AU in March 2004.

    An apparently asteroidal object reported by LINEAR, and posted on the NEO Confirmation Page, has been found to have cometary appearance on CCD images taken by P. Kusnirak (Ondrejov; 0.65-m f/3.6 reflector; well-condensed condensation and a faint 20" tail toward the southeast) and by P. Birtwhistle (Great Shefford, U.K.; nuclear condensation of diameter about 6" with a faint, short, broad tail about 15" long in p.a. 139 deg; mag 17.3-18.2). [IAUC 8170, 2003 July 30]

    Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2003-R09 [2003 September 2] that the "original" and "future" barycentric values of 1/a are +0.000225 and +0.000217 (+/- 0.000018) AU**-1, respectively, suggesting that this is probably not a "new" comet from the Oort cloud.


    2003 O2 (P/LINEAR) A 19th magnitude comet was discovered by LINEAR on July 29.38, although other CCD observers estimate it at 17th magnitude. It reaches perihelion at 1.6 AU in early September and may be of short period. It may brighten a little, but is unlikely to reach visual magnitude limits. Peter Birtwistle imaged it on July 31.04. It shows a surprisingly long tail, perhaps suggesting a recent outburst.

    Further observations confirm the short period nature of the orbit, with perihelion at 1.5 AU in early September and a period of 8.8 years. It will not get much brighter than at present.

    M. Bezpalko, Lincoln Laboratory, reports the LINEAR discovery of a comet, showing a tail approximately 42" long in p.a. 230 deg. Other CCD observers report mag 16.9-17.9 and a tail of up to 6' long in p.a. 245-250 deg on July 30-31 (including S. Sanchez, R. Stoss, and J. Nomen at Mallorca; R. Trentman and R. Frederick at Louisburg, KS; and P. Birtwhistle at Great Shefford, U.K., who also noted a 9" central condensation of mag 17.9, adding that the tail was very diffuse and wide). [IAUC 8172, 2003 July 31]


    2003 O3 (P/LINEAR) A 19th magnitude comet was discovered by LINEAR on July 30.39, although other CCD observers estimate it at 18th magnitude. It was confirmed as cometary by Peter Birtwhistle amongst others. The comet reached perihelion at 1.25 AU in mid August and will fade. It passed 0.3 AU from Jupiter in 1979 November and the period is 5.5 years.

    An apparently asteroidal object reported by LINEAR, and posted on the NEO Confirmation Page, has been found to be apparently cometary on CCD images taken by P. Birtwhistle (Great Shefford, U.K., 0.30-m reflector; very faint tail about 10" long in p.a. approximately 270-280 deg on July 31.10 and Aug. 2.08 UT; mag 18.1 and coma diameter about 5" on Aug. 2.08), by J. Ticha and M. Tichy (Klet, 1.06-m KLENOT telescope; diffuse with a wide tail in p.a. 260 deg on Aug. 3.01), and by J. McGaha (near Tucson, AZ; possible tail spike 5" long in p.a. 300 deg on Aug. 3.38 with a 0.30-m reflector; possible fan-shaped tail 5" long in p.a. 260 deg on Aug. 5.33 with a 0.62-m reflector). The preliminary orbital elements indicate that the comet passed 0.3 AU from Jupiter in Nov. 1979. [IAUC 8174, 2003 August 5]


    2003 QX29 (P/NEAT) A 20th magnitude comet was discovered by NEAT on August 23.28, although some CCD observers estimate it a little brighter. The comet is nearly a year past perihelion and will fade. The perihelion distance is 4.2 AU and the period around 23 years. Maik Meyer subsequently found prediscovery observations from Palomar/NEAT made in June 2002, which give a period of 22.73 years and perihelion at 4.24 AU according to calculations by Muraoka.

    An apparently asteroidal object reported by NEAT (Palomar discovery observation originally posted on the NEO Confirmation Page, then assigned the designation 2003 QX_29 on MPEC 2003-Q33; observations on MPS 93475-93476) has been found to have cometary appearance on CCD images taken by I. Griffin and S. G. Huerta (Cerro Tololo 0.9-m reflector, Aug. 31.1 UT; visible coma of red mag 18.0-19.4 with FHWM = 2".3-2".6 in raw 300-s images, while stacked 10-exposure image shows a fan-shaped tail at least 17" long in p.a. 58 deg) and by J. Young (Table Mountain 0.6-m reflector, Sept. 1.2; 3" coma, slightly elongated in p.a. 260 deg, with a 16" curved tail starting in p.a. 243 deg; possible slight brightening in the tail at a point 4"-5" from the coma edge). J. Ticha subsequently reports that Klet images from Aug. 23.9 show the object to be slightly diffuse, while on Aug. 24.9 it exhibited a 8" coma. Astrometry, orbital elements (T = 2002 Oct. 17.3 TT, Peri. = 37.1 deg, Node = 264.9 deg, i = 11.4 deg, equinox 2000.0, e = 0.445, q = 4.311 AU, P = 21.6 yr), and an ephemeris appear on MPEC 2003-R14. [IAUC 8192, 2003 September 2]


    2003 R1 (LINEAR) was discovered by LINEAR on September 2.37. It will not brighten significantly from its current 19th magnitude. Calculations by Hirohisa Sato suggested that the orbit was elliptical. The latest MPEC gives perihelion at 2.1 AU in late June 2003 and a period of 87 years.

    An apparently asteroidal object reported by LINEAR, and posted on the NEO Confirmation Page, has been reported to have cometary appearance on CCD images obtained by J. Ticha and M. Tichy (Klet, 1.06-m KLENOT telescope; slightly diffuse object with a 6" coma on Sept. 5.08 UT, and asymmetric coma to the northwest on Sept. 6.05); and by J. E. McGaha (Tucson, AZ, 0.30-m f/10.0 Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector; 3" coma with a fan- shaped tail 8" long in p.a. 320 deg on Sept. 6.39). [IAUC 8195, 2003 September 6]


    2003 R4 (SOHO) was a non group comet discovered by Kazimieras Cernis in C2 images on September 8.
    A/2003 RW11 (Table Mountain Observatory) is an asteroid, of 19th magnitude, discovered by J Young with the 0.6-m telescope at Table Mountain Observatory on 2003 September 15.47. It is in a 5.1 year orbit, with perihelion at 0.46 AU and an eccentricity of 0.84. It was at perihelion in mid June. [MPEC 2003-S03, 2003 September 16, 1-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet, and it can approach to within 0.5 AU of Jupiter and 0.08 AU of the Earth.
    2003 S1 (P/NEAT) A 19th magnitude comet was discovered by NEAT on September 23.60, with some LINEAR prediscovery images found from September 4.3 and 20.3. Peter Birtwhistle was amongst those making confirming images. The comet reaches perihelion towards the end of March 2004, though will remain near its present brightness. The perihelion distance is 2.6 AU and the period 9.7 years. The comet passed 0.18 AU from Jupiter in 1972 October.

    M. Hicks, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), reports the discovery of a comet on CCD images obtained via the NEAT project with the Haleakala 1.2-m telescope on September 23.60, noting the object to be slightly diffuse with a slight elongation to the west on images taken on Sept. 23.6 and 24.5 UT. Following posting on the NEO Confirmation Page, P. Birthwhistle, Great Shefford, U.K., reported that his CCD images taken with a 0.30-m reflector on Sept. 24.0 show a coma with diameter about 10" offset toward the southwest with a possible 30" tail in p.a. approximately 250 deg. J. Mahony, Lafayette, IN, communicates that his images with a 0.30-m Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector on Sept. 24.2 show a diffuse coma and a tail about 10" long in p.a. 250 deg. S. D. Gillam, JPL, obtained confirming images with the 0.6-m telescope at Table Mountain on Sept. 24.2, showing a coma of diameter approximately 10" with mag R = 18.3. Images taken with the 1.06-m KLENOT telescope at Klet by M. Tichy on Sept. 24.9 show a tail in p.a. 260 deg. [IAUC 8208, 2003 September 24]


    2003 S2 (P/NEAT) An 18th magnitude comet was discovered by NEAT on September 24.61, with some LINEAR prediscovery images found from September 19.36. Peter Birtwhistle was amongst those making confirming images. Hirohisa Sato has provided improved orbital elements which show that the comet reached perihelion in late August with perihelion distance at 2.4 AU and a period around 7.6 years. The latest MPEC gives similar values with perihelion in early September at 2.5 AU and period 7.5 years. It will fade

    Further to IAUC 8208, M. Hicks reports the NEAT discovery of another comet on images obtained at Haleakala on September 24.61, noting a coma diameter of 5" and a 15" tail in p.a. 255 deg. Following posting on the NEO Confirmation Page, numerous observers have reported cometary activity from CCD images obtained on Sept. 24.9-25.0 UT, including R. Apitzsch (Wildberg, Germany; 2" coma), P. Birtwhistle (not 'Birthwhistle', as given on IAUC 8208; 8" coma with a broad tail at least 20" long in p.a. 250 deg and a thin tail 20" long in p.a. 330 deg), F. Hormuth (Heppenheim, Germany; 40" tail in p.a. 260 deg), and S. Gajdos and A. Galad (Modra, Slovakia; coma diameter about 15" and tail extending in p.a. 255-260 deg). The available astrometry (including prediscovery LINEAR observations from Sept. 19.4), preliminary orbital elements (T = 2003 July 10.0 TT, Peri. = 259.6 deg, Node = 91.5 deg, i = 7.3 deg, equinox 2000.0, q = 2.294 UT, e = 0.454, P = 8.6 yr), and an ephemeris appear on MPEC 2003-S65. [IAUC 8209, 2003 September 25]


    2003 S3 (LINEAR) was discovered by LINEAR on September 27.38. It is a distant object that was at perihelion in mid April at 8.1 AU. It will slowly fade from its current 19th magnitude.

    M. Bezpalko, Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reports the LINEAR discovery of a comet on September 27.38, their images showing a tail in p.a. 260 deg. Following web-posting on the NEO Confirmation Page, J. Young reported that CCD images taken with the 0.6-m reflector at Table Mountain on Sept. 28.4 and 29.4 UT reveal a 5" coma and a straight, narrow tail 20" long in p.a. 65 deg and 57 deg, respectively. [IAUC 8211, 2003 September 29]

    Nakano has identified a LINEAR asteroid 2002 XM113 with the comet.


    2003 S4 (LINEAR) was discovered by LINEAR on September 26.17. It is a distant object that will reach perihelion at 3.9 AU in late May 2004. It will not brighten significantly from its current 18th magnitude. The latest orbits are significantly elliptical, with an eccentricity of 0.9 and a period of around 250 years.

    An apparently asteroidal object discovered by LINEAR on September 26.17, and posted on the NEO Confirmation Page, has been found to have cometary appearance by several CCD observers, including J. Young and A. Grigsby (Table Mountain, 0.6-m reflector; 5" round coma and faint 10" outer shell on Sept. 30.1-30.2 UT, possibly slightly extended in p.a. 145 deg on Oct. 1.1-1.3); H. Mikuz (Crni Vrh, Slovenia; 0.60-m f/3 Deltagraph; diffuse coma of diameter about 10" on Sept. 30.8-30.9; mag 18.1-18.2), and J. E. McGaha (Tucson, AZ, 0.62-m f/5.1 reflector; 2" coma elongated to the southeast on Oct. 1.2). [IAUC 8213, 2003 October 1]

    The comet has split into two components. Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2004-U10 (2004 October 18) that The "original" and "future" barycentric values of 1/a for C/2003 S4-A are +0.025071 and +0.025582 (+/- 0.000004) AU^-1, respectively; those for C/2003 S4-B are +0.025069 and +0.025579 AU^-1.

    Z. Sekanina, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, writes: "Application of my comet fragmentation model (Sekanina 1982, in Comets, Univ. of Arizona Press, p. 251) to this comet's observed duplicity (MPECs 2004-T44 and 2004-U10) shows that component B is the principal nucleus. This result is supported by the location of component A between components B and C, a suspected third fragment, on an image taken by R. Ferrando on 2004 Oct. 9 (see http://www.aerith.net/comet/catalog/2003S4/pictures.html). The astrometric observations made in Sept.-Oct. 2004 allow one to determine four of the model's five parameters for component A. The radial component of its separation velocity from B is indeterminate. Solutions with this velocity component assumed to point away from the sun provide marginally better data matches. When it is limited to a range from 0 to 2 m/s, the time of splitting comes out to be between 2004 May 23 and June 17 (3 days before to 22 days after perihelion) at 3.86 AU from the sun, with the differential nongravitational deceleration decreasing from 140 to 90 units of 10**-5 solar attraction and with the transverse and normal components of the separation velocity near 0.8 m/s in the direction opposite the orbital motion and 0.2 m/s pointing below the orbital plane, respectively. The high deceleration of the companion (nucleus A) indicates that it is a short-lived fragment with an estimated lifetime of 12-33 equivalent days. At a heliocentric distance of about 4 AU this means that the secondary can possibly be observed for several more months, unless the comet's rapid fading, apparently triggered by this nucleus fragmentation, continues. Predicted separations and position angles of A relative to B are as follows (0 TT, equinox 2000.0): 2004 Nov. 11, 12".9, 289 deg; Dec. 1, 13".9, 296 deg; Dec. 21, 14".7, 301 deg; 2005 Jan. 10, 15".5, 304 deg; Jan. 30, 16".5, 305 deg; Feb. 19, 17".8, 304 deg; Mar. 11, 19".6, 301 deg." [IAUC 8434, 2004 November 10]


    2003 S9 (SOHO) was a non group comet discovered by Rainer Kracht in C2 images on September 25.
    P/2003 SQ215 (NEAT-LONEOS) An object originally reported as stellar by NEAT and LONEOS has been found to show a coma by Alan Fitzsimmons et al. The period is nearly 13 years and it reaches perihelion at 2.30 AU in late March 2004.

    An apparently asteroidal object reported independently by the NEAT (on September 24.18) and LONEOS (on September 27.16) projects has been found to show a nonstellar appearance in individual 30-s R-band images taken by A. Fitzsimmons and C. Snodgrass, Queen's University of Belfast, and O. Hainaut, European Southern Observatory (ESO), on 2004 Jan. 19.0 UT at the ESO 3.6-m New Technology Telescope (+ SUSI-2 camera). Fitzsimmons adds that co- addition of the frames shows an asymmetric coma of total mag 20.3 extending 1".7 in p.a. 130 deg. [IAUC 8274, 2004 January 23]


    A/2003 SB220 (LINEAR) is an asteroid, of 18th magnitude, discovered by LINEAR on 2003 September 28.12. It is in a 5.8 year orbit, with perihelion at 1.32 AU and an eccentricity of 0.59. It was at perihelion in early September. [MPEC 2003-S89, 2003 September 30, 2-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet, and it can approach Jupiter to within 0.4 AU.
    2003 T1 (157P/Tritton) D/1978 has been recovered in outburst at around 12th magnitude. P Holvorcem reported that C Juels had found a fast moving cometary object and this was confirmed by other observers. Following suggestions from Sebastian Hoenig, based on computations by Maik Meyer, Brian Marsden was able to confirm the identity with comet D/1978 (Tritton) that had been observed for a month in 1978. The linkage shows that the period estimated from the 1978 apparition was incorrect. The original prediction was for a return in early March, based on a period of 6.32 years, however the actual perihelion was on September 24 and the period is 6.45 years. The current brightness suggests that the object is in outburst and its future brightness is uncertain.

    Keith Tritton provides the following information about the original disovery:

    I'm amazed (and delighted) it's been recovered. It's quite a story - it was very faint on discovery in 1978 (I think it may even have been the faintest comet ever discovered at that time), when I was working on the Southern UK Schmidt Sky Survey. The orbit was observed over only a very short arc. The first return was very unfavourable, so it couldn't be seen, and the orbital inaccuracy was so large that the predictions for the second return had huge uncertainties. Nevertheless I got some plates taken at the Schmidt (this was about 1990) and sent to me in Cambridge for searching. But I never got them, they were lost in transit from Australia!

    So I never expected to hear anything more about it. It must be rather rare to pick up a lost comet on its fourth return, mustn't it?

    P. Holvorcem, Campinas, Brazil, has reported that the co- addition of three 45-s unfiltered CCD images of a fast-moving object found by C. Juels, Fountain Hills, AZ, with a 0.12-m f/5 refractor and a 0.5-m f/4.8 reflector on October 6.44 show a coma of diameter 2' and a hint of a 1'.5 tail at p.a. roughly 257 deg. Following posting on the NEO Confirmation Page, additional CCD observers noted the object's cometary appearance, including R. Trentman (Louisburg, KS, 0.75-m reflector; mag 13.1 and very faint evidence of a tail approximately 10" long in p.a. approximately 280 deg on Oct. 7.4 UT), D. T. Durig (Sewanee, TN, 0.30-m f/5.86 reflector; teardrop-shaped coma of mag 10.1 with a tail at least 2'-2'.5 long in p.a. about 285 deg on Oct. 7.4), and J. Young (Table Mountain, CA, 0.6-m reflector; 36" coma elongated to 48", with a 3' tail in p.a. 289 deg with a very straight and extremely thin jet of length about 1'.5 in its center on Oct. 7.5).

    Following a suggestion by S. Hoenig (Dossenheim, Germany) from orbital computations by M. Meyer (Kelkheim, Germany), B. G. Marsden (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory) has shown that this comet is identical to the lost comet 1978d = 1977 XIII = D/1978 C2 (Tritton), which was observed for only a month (cf. IAUC 3175, 3186, 3194, 3198). The available astrometry, including Sept. 22 prediscovery observations, and the orbital elements by Marsden appear on MPEC 2003-T37. [IAUC 8215, 2003 October 7]

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 2003 October 8, updated 2003 October 25.


    2003 T2 (LINEAR) LINEAR discovered an 18th mag object on Oct 13.44 which was found to be cometary by other observers and possibly as bright as 15th magnitude. It reached perihelion at 1.79 AU in mid November, but no visual observations were reported.

    An apparently asteroidal object reported by LINEAR on October 13.44, and posted on the NEO Confirmation Page, has been found to show cometary appearance by several CCD astrometric observers, including R. Apitzsch (Wildberg, Germany, 0.24-m reflector; Oct. 14.0 UT, diffuse coma of diameter about 10"), J. E. McGaha (Tucson, AZ, 0.62-m reflector; Oct. 14.4, bright compact coma of diameter 4" with a fainter outer coma of diameter 10" and a broad tail 20" long in p.a. 30 deg), G. R. Jones (Tucson, AZ, 0.32-m reflector; Oct. 14.4, coma diameter about 6" and a possible tail at p.a. 35 deg), P. R. Holvorcem and M. Schwartz (Tenagra 0.81-m reflector at Nogales, AZ; Oct. 14.5, co-addition of three 120-s exposures shows a coma of diameter about 15" and total mag 15.1-15.6), and A. Knoefel and T. Payer (Essen, Germany, 0.32-m reflector; Oct. 14.9, short tail). [IAUC 8222, 2003 October 14]

    Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2004-A07 [2004 January 3] that the "original" and "future" barycentric values of 1/a are -0.000065 and +0.000653 (+/- 0.000024) AU**-1, respectively, suggesting that this is a "new" comet from the Oort cloud.


    2003 T3 (Tabur) Vello Tabur discovered a somewhat condensed comet of 12th magnitude on October 14.57, which was posted on the NEO confirmation page. It was confirmed the next day by Terry Lovejoy and other Australian observers and announced on IAUC 8223. This circular also announced the recovery of the only named but un-numbered and lost minor planet, Hermes after 31 revolutions.

    Vello Tabur, Australian Capital Territory, reports his discovery of a somewhat-condensed comet with a 30" coma on unfiltered CCD images taken with a 140-mm f/2.8 camera lens on Oct. 14.481 UT. T. Lovejoy (Thornlands, Queensland, 0.16-m reflector) reports that a CCD exposure taken on Oct. 15.5 shows a 0'.7 coma of total mag 11.6 and a fan-shaped tail about 1' long in p.a. 90 deg. [IAUC 8223, 2003 October15]

    The latest MPEC and orbits by Hirohisa Sato give perihelion at 1.48 AU towards the end of April 2004. Sato's orbit suggests that the comet passed through the SOHO C3 coronagraph field between 2004 February 20 and 2004 March 25, though there were no conclusive observations reported. It emerged from solar conjunction as a 9th magnitude object in early May, however it was low in the summer twilight and not easy to observe. I glimpsed it in mid June, estimating it at around 10th magnitude. Observers in mid September estimated it at around 11.5. It will slowly fade through to the end of year, but remains in the morning sky.

    Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2004-A08 [2004 January 3] that the "original" and "future" barycentric values of 1/a are +0.000176 and +0.000878 (+/- 0.000043) AU**-1, respectively, suggesting that this is probably not a "new" comet from the Oort cloud.

    31 observations received so far give a preliminary light curve, not corrected for aperture, but where possible corrected for systematic observer differences of m = 6.6 + 5 log d + 6.9 log r Observations in ICQ format, last observation 2004 September 19, updated 2004 December 30.


    2003 T4 (LINEAR) LINEAR discovered an 20th mag object on Oct 13.45 which was found to be cometary by other observers. From the initial orbit it appeared to be a distant object near perihelion, however Sebastian Hoenig computed a rather more interesting orbit, which gave perihelion at 0.75 AU in March 2005. The MPECs confirm this rather more interesting orbit, with perihelion at 0.85 AU in early April 2005. The indications are that the comet could reach 8th magnitude.

    An apparently asteroidal object reported by LINEAR on October 13.45, and posted on the NEO Confirmation Page, has been found to show cometary appearance by several CCD astrometric observers, including J. E. McGaha (Tucson, AZ, 0.62-m reflector; Oct. 14.4 UT, coma diameter 6" with a fan-shaped tail 12" long in p.a. 75 deg), P. R. Holvorcem and M. Schwartz (Tenagra 0.81-m reflector at Nogales, AZ; Oct. 14.4 and 15.4, co-addition of three 180-s exposures on each night shows a coma of diameter about 5" and total mag 17.7-18.3), G. R. Jones (Tucson, AZ, 0.32-m reflector; Oct. 15.4, coma diameter 2", slightly elongated toward p.a. 40 deg), and J. Young (Table Mountain, CA, 0.6-m reflector; Oct. 15.5, 6" diffuse coma surrounding a very small central core). [IAUC 8224, 2003 October 15]

    Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2004-A09 [2004 January 3] that the "original" and "future" barycentric values of 1/a are +0.000169 and -0.000827 (+/- 0.000069) AU**-1, respectively, suggesting that this is probably not a "new" comet from the Oort cloud.

    Brian Marsden further notes on MPEC 2005-G28 [2005 April 5] that the orbit is problematic. He gives non-gravitational parameters Y1 = +8.83 +/- 0.06, Y2 = -0.34 +/- 0.03. and comments:

    For the past several weeks it has been evident that the "usual" procedure for handling orbital nongravitational effects is not working for this comet, if the desire is to obtain a consistent representation of the observations and some degree of future predictability. A fit to the observations since Oct. 2004, when water-ice vaporization could be expected to become significant, seems quite satisfactory but still gives the unusually large value of A1 = +12; on the other hand, as is rather to be expected, the observations during the previous twelve months are fully compatible with gravitational motion. The orbit provided above has been computed by S. Nakano using a formulation by S. Yabushita (1996, MNRAS 283, 347) that presumes more nongravitational activity at greater heliocentric distances and is based on carbon-monoxide vaporization.

    I tentatively estimated it at 13.4 on September 18.93. By November it was becoming easier to see, and had brightened to 12.5. Seiichi Yoshida noted that images taken by Giovanni Sostero on November 21 show a dust trail 3.5' long. It is very unusual for non periodic comets to show a trail. Giovanni Sostero has also noted that the comet appears very red. Very few observers appeared to attempt observing it, possibly because it was most easily seen from higher northern latitudes and was only visible in the northern sky. I observed it on December 11, estimating it at 10.5 in my 0.33-m Dobsonian reflector. On January 21.2 it was 11.0 in the N'land refractor x185. After several attempts at observation in the following month that were thwarted by cloud, I finally observed it again on February 20.2 estimating it at 9.7 in the N'land x105 and 9.4 in 20x80B. It was another month before I saw it another time, by when it had brightened to 8.7 in 25x100B. It will be a southern hemisphere object after perihelion.

    61 observations received so far give a preliminary light curve of m = 7.8 + 5 log d + 6.6 log r Observations in ICQ format, last observation 2005 May 12, updated 2005 June 1.


    2003 T12 (SOHO) was a non group comet discovered by Jim Danaher on November 6 in C3 images from October 9 - 12.

    Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2004-K33 [2004 May 21] that "It is possible that C/2003 T12 has a short period and somewhat smaller perihelion distance, but the latter is limited by the minimum solar elongation of 5.3 deg. The object seems to have been too faint to show on SOHO-SWAN frames. Maike Meyer has calculated the periodic orbit, which has a period of 4.34 years and a perihelion distance of 0.46 AU.

    Jim Danaher has set up a web page devoted to comet 2003 T12.


    2003 U1 (LINEAR) LINEAR discovered an 18th mag object with halo on Oct 19.38 which was confirmed to be cometary by other observers. It was at perihelion at 1.8 AU in early November and will fade from 17th magnitude. Orbits by Sato and Marsden show that it is a periodic comet, with period around 109 years.

    L. Manguso and H. Stange, Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, report the discovery of a comet with a definite halo but no tail on LINEAR images on October 19.38. Following posting on the NEO Confirmation Page, two other CCD observers have also commented on the cometary appearance: J. E. McGaha (Tucson, AZ, 0.30-m reflector; faint 10" coma elongated in p.a. 240 deg on Oct. 20.3 UT) and J. Young (Table Mountain, CA, 0.6-m reflector; coma of diameter 6" and mag 17.5 with a tail about 16" long in p.a. 276 deg). [IAUC 8227, 2003 October 20]


    2003 U2 (P/LINEAR) LINEAR discovered an 18th mag comet on October 19.09 which was confirmed to be cometary by other observers. Prediscovery images back to September 19 were also found. It is at perihelion in early December at 1.7 AU and has a period of 9.6 years. It will fade from 18th magnitude.

    F. Shelly, Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reports the discovery of a comet with a diffuse coma and a very wide, fan-shaped tail in p.a. 85 deg on LINEAR images on October 19.09. Following posting on the NEO Confirmation Page, other CCD observers have also commented on the cometary appearance on Oct. 21.1-21.2 UT, including J. Young at Table Mountain (0.6-m reflector; 5" coma without central condensation and with a fan-shaped tail about 25" long spanning p.a. 70-95 deg) and R. Fredrick and T. Medlock at Louisburg, KS (0.75-m reflector; 30" tail in p.a. 80 deg). [IAUC 8229, 2003 October 21]


    2003 U3 (P/NEAT) NEAT discovered an 19th mag comet on October 22.29. It is past perihelion at 2.5 AU in late April and has a period around 11.5 years. It will fade from 18th magnitude.

    K. Lawrence, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, reports the discovery by the NEAT project of a 19th magnitude comet on 2003 October 22.29. Observations by J. Young at Table Mountain on Oct. 23.2 UT show a 3" coma with a short, broad, fan-shaped tail about 8" long spanning p.a. 255-285 deg. [IAUC 8230, 2003 October 23]


    2003 UD16 (159P/LONEOS) LONEOS discovered an 19th mag asteroid on October 16.40. Subsequent images taken by Carl Hergenrother with the Mt Hopkins 1.2 m reflector on November 30.21 showed cometary features. It will reach perihelion in early March at 3.65 AU and has a period of 14.3 years. It will not get any brighter.

    An apparently asteroidal object with not-unusual motion, found by LONEOS on October 16.40 (the discovery observation together with other astrometry appeared on MPS 88336, 90581, and 91035 with the designation 2003 UD_16; initial orbit on MPO 53844), has been found by C. W. Hergenrother to show a circular, condensed 11" coma and no tail on co-added 900-s R-band CCD exposures taken on Nov. 30 with the Mt. Hopkins 1.2-m reflector (astrometry below measured by T. B. Spahr). [IAUC 8248, 2003 December 3]

    Maik Meyer has found images of the comet on Palomar plates taken in 1989 and 1991, thus allowing a secure orbit to be determined. The comet was therefore numbered 159P.

    Images of comet P/2003 UD_16 (cf. IAUC 8248) were identified and measured by M. Meyer from Palomar Sky Survey photographs taken on 1989 Dec. 17 and 1991 Feb. 19. [IAUC 8263, 2004 January 7]


    2003 UY275 (P/LINEAR) LINEAR discovered an 18th mag asteroid on October 29.32. Subsequent images taken by Carl Hergenrother with the Mt Hopkins 1.2 m reflector on November 30.25 showed cometary features and these were confirmed by other observers. Prediscovery images back to October 5 were also found. It was at perihelion in early July at 1.8 AU and has a period around 7.2 years. It will fade from 18th magnitude.

    An apparently asteroidal object discovered by the LINEAR project on 2003 October 29.32 has been found to show cometary appearance on CCD images taken with the Mt. Hopkins 1.2-m reflector on Nov. 30.25 UT by C. W. Hergenrother; his co-added 1200-s R-band exposures show a highly condensed 16" coma and a narrow tail 100" long in p.a. 280 deg (mag 18.5 determined by T. B. Spahr). Also, R. S. McMillan noted the object as diffuse in Spacewatch incidental observations made on Nov. 30.4. [IAUC 8247, 2003 December 2]


    A/2003 UO12 (Spacewatch) is an asteroid, of 21st magnitude, discovered with the Spacewatch II telescope on 2003 October 21.26. It is in a 5.5 year orbit, with perihelion at 0.94 AU and an eccentricity of 0.70. It is at perihelion in mid December. [MPEC 2003-U44, 2003 October 22, 1-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet, and it can approach to within 0.1 AU of Jupiter and 0.05 AU of the Earth.
    A/2003 UY283 (Spacewatch) The discovery of an unusual asteroid, found by Spacewatch on October 18.36 was announced on MPEC 2003 V58 [2003 November 14]. The 21st magnitude object is in a 195 year periodic orbit with perihelion at 3.51 AU and has just passed perihelion. Aphelion is at 64 AU.
    2003 V1 (LINEAR) LINEAR discovered an 18th mag comet with tail on November 4.47 which was confirmed by other observers. It is past perihelion, which was at 1.78 AU in mid March and will fade from 16th magnitude. The comet could have reached 13th magnitude near perihelion but was then in solar conjunction. It could potentially have been discovered by a Southern Hemisphere search programme in 2002, or found in the 'twilight zone' not searched by LINEAR by amateur CCD observers located in the tropics or southern hemisphere during November to January, or by northern observers from late August onwards.

    A. Milner, Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reports the LINEAR discovery of a comet with a tail in p.a. 330 deg on 2003 November 4.47. Following posting on the NEOCP, other CCD observers recognized the object as a comet, reporting additional physical data: Nov. 5.2 UT, 12" coma (mag 16.5) and 40" tail (A. Knoefel, Essen, Germany, 0.32-m reflector); Nov. 5.5, 7" coma (mag 16.5) with a broad tail a little more than 70" long spanning p.a. 290-310 deg, including two or three streamers, the brightest of which is 30" long in p.a. 295 deg (J. Young, Table Mtn., CA, 0.6-m reflector); Nov. 5.5, coma diameter about 10", with 10" tail in p.a. 310 deg (P. R. Holvorcem and M. Schwartz, Nogales, AZ, 0.81-m reflector; three 180-s exposures); Nov. 6.4, soft coma of diameter 6", broad tail 9" long in p.a. 310 deg (J. E. McGaha, Tucson, AZ, 0.30-m reflector). [IAUC 8236, 2003 November 6]

    Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2004-B51 [2004 January 26] that the "original" and "future" barycentric values of 1/a are +0.001411 and +0.002242 (+/- 0.000035) AU^-1, respectively, suggesting that this is not a "new" comet from the Oort cloud.


    Sedna (2003 VB12) This object is the first member of the inner Oort cloud to be discovered. With a perihelion distance of 75.8 AU, aphelion at nearly 1000 AU and an orbital period of 12,000 years it is the most distant member of the solar system to be found. At several hundred kilometres in diameter it is smaller in size than Pluto and would be a substantial comet if ever made it into the inner solar system. It is currently just under 90 AU from the Sun, moving in towards perihelion, which is in about 70 years time.
    2003 W1 (LINEAR) LINEAR discovered an 18th mag object on November 16.08 which was found to be cometary by other observers. Hirohiso Sato noted that the early observations were also fitted quite well by a periodic orbit with a period of 9.3 years. This would be rather unusual in a comet with an orbital inclination of around 75 degrees. However as more observations accumulated, orbits published in the MPECs were given as elliptical. The comet has a periodic orbit of 126 years, inclination 78 degrees and perihelion in early November at 1.65 AU. It will fade.

    An apparently asteroidal object reported by LINEAR on 2003 November 16.08 was posted on the NEO Confirmation Page and has been found to show cometary appearance by several CCD observers, including J. Young (Table Mountain, CA, 0.6-m reflector; Nov. 17.1 UT, very round coma of diameter 8" and mag 17.5 with a faint, featureless tail 50" long in p.a. 42 deg), R. Fredrick and R. Trentman (Louisburg, KS, 0.75-m reflector; Nov. 17.1, very diffuse tail approximately 4" long in p.a. 20 deg), J. E. Rogers (Camarillo, CA, 0.30-m reflector; Nov. 17.1, diffuse), and J. Lacruz (Madrid, Spain, 0.30-m reflector; Nov. 17.8, diffuse coma extending some 50" to the north). [IAUC 8239, 2003 November 17]


    2003 WC7 (LINEAR-Catalina) LINEAR discovered a 20th mag object on November 18.14 which was observed on two nights. It was independently discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey on January 31.14 and posted on the NEO confirmation page. Other observers then noted a coma and tail. The object is in 11.8 year orbit with perihelion at 1.65 AU in early February.

    An apparently asteroidal object was discovered by the LINEAR project on 2003 Nov. 18 (observed on only two nights) and given the designation 2003 WC_7 (MPS 91151). The object was discovered independently on Jan. 31 by the Catalina Sky Survey and then posted on the NEO Confirmation Page. As a result, it has been found to show cometary appearance on CCD exposures taken by J. Young (Table Mountain, 0.6-m reflector, Feb. 1.15 UT; very diffuse coma of mag 17.5 and diameter 5", very little central condensation, and a straight, narrow 10" tail in p.a. 345 deg) and by G. J. Garradd and R. H. McNaught (Siding Spring, 1.0-m f/8 reflector, Feb. 1.46; coma diameter 3".5 in 2".5 seeing; no obvious tail visible in five co- added 40-s frames). [IAUC 8280, 2004 February 1]


    A/2003 WM7 (NEAT) is an asteroid, of 19th magnitude, discovered by Palomar NEAT on 2003 November 18.21. It is in a 4.6 year orbit, with perihelion at 0.27 AU and an eccentricity of 0.90. It reaches perihelion in mid March 2004. [MPEC 2002-W21, 2003 November 20, 2-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet and it can approach within 0.4 AU of Jupiter. It can approach within 0.1 AU of our planet. If it shows cometary activity it could reach 9th magnitude at perihelion and it will pass within the LASCO C3 field from March 14 to 20. At its last return in August 1999 it would only have reached 14th magnitude.
    A/2003 WB8 (LINEAR) is an asteroid, of 19th magnitude, discovered by LINEAR on 2003 November 18.14, but linked to 1987 FJ1. It is in a 5.9 year orbit, with perihelion at 1.46 AU and an eccentricity of 0.55. It reaches perihelion in late June 2004. [MPEC 2003-W27, 2003 November 20] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet, and it can approach Jupiter to within 0.2 AU.
    2003 WY25 (P/Blanpain-Catalina) was initially identified as an asteroid, of 18th magnitude, discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey on 2003 November 22.15. It is in a 5.3 year orbit, with perihelion at 1.00 AU and an eccentricity of 0.67. It reached perihelion in mid December. [MPEC 2003-W41, 2003 November 22, 28-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet, and it can approach Jupiter to within 0.2 AU, approaching it to 0.4 AU in 1995. It is also a PHA, approaching earth to 0.005 AU at the ascending node. It approached the Earth to 0.025 AU in mid December, when it reached 15th mag.

    As noted above the preliminary announcement of this asteroid suggested that it could be a Jupiter family comet, and this has proved to be the case. M Micheli (Italy) and Peter Jenniskens both suggested an identity with the lost periodic comet Blanpain (D/1819 W1), and Brian Marsden has now conclusively linked the asteroid with the comet. Harold Ridley has also tentatively linked the comet with the Phoenicid meteor shower of 1956 December 5. [IAUC 8485, 2005 February 13]

    At discovery the comet was around 6.5, with a coma of 6 - 7 ' diameter. It was observed for 59 days. Although Vsekhsvyatskij gives an absolute magnitude of 8.5, this doesn't fit the ephemeris very well and 10.5 is more likely.

    The original orbit for comet Blanpain appears to have been relatively good, however the period was around a month out. Since its discovery apparition it made a further 34 returns prior to its recovery as an asteroid in 2003. Perihelion distance has varied between 0.87 and 1.04 AU, and it passed 0.31 AU from Jupiter in 1995. There were close approaches to the Earth at the discovery in 1819 (0.11 AU in October before discovery), 1866 (0.08 AU in November), 1919 (0.06 AU in November/December). It will make future close approaches in 2020 (0.09 AU in January) and 2035 (0.09 AU in November). [Orbits calculated by Kenji Muraoka and myself]

    Already more than a year ago, S. Foglia, Milan, Italy, reported a suggestion by M. Micheli that backward integration of the orbit of 2003 WY25 given on MPEC 2003-Y78 (Catalina Sky Survey discovery announcement on MPEC 2003-W41) suggested possible identity -- though showing discordances extending up to 17 deg in the argument of perihelion (Peri.) -- with the lost comet D/1819 W1 = 1819 IV, which was itself tentatively shown by H. B. Ridley (1957, BAA Circ. No. 382) to be related to the one-time Phoenicid meteor shower of 1956 Dec. 5. P. Jenniskens, NASA Ames Research Center, has now independently suggested the 1819-2003 identity with a Peri. discordance of 0.2 deg. Computations by B. G. Marsden, Harvard- Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, that included reexamination of the 1819-1820 observations confirm a best-fit gravitational linkage with Peri. discordance 0.2 deg. He also showed that the discordances in all three angular elements can be reduced to 0.01 deg by starting from the following orbital elements for 2003 WY25 (which had H = 21.1 and was consistently of stellar appearance despite a passage only 0.025 AU from the earth on 2003 Dec. 12):

                        Epoch = 2003 Dec. 27.0 TT
         T = 2003 Dec. 11.5776 TT         Peri. =   9.0695
         e = 0.675583                     Node  =  69.3827  2000.0
         q = 1.000069 AU                  Incl. =   5.9292
           a =  3.082662 AU    n = 0.1821022    P =   5.412 years
    
    Although backward integration of this orbit gives T too late in 1819, adjustment by Delta(T) = -4.28 days and modification of the angular elements within the range indicated above yield the result
                        Epoch = 1819 Nov. 22.0 TT
         T = 1819 Nov. 20.27 TT           Peri. = 349.65
         e = 0.7028                       Node  =  80.02    2000.0
         q = 0.8893 AU                    Incl. =   9.23
           a =  2.9928 AU      n = 0.19036      P =   5.18 years
    
    which satisfactorily represents 10 of the 13 observations made at Paris, Bologna, and Milan during 1819 Dec. 14-1820 Jan. 15 within 90 arcsec. The integrated orbital elements at the time of the Phoenicid shower are T = 1956 Oct. 25.32 TT, Peri. = 0.14 deg, Node = 74.37 deg, i = 9.60 deg (equinox 2000.0), q = 0.9914 AU, e = 0.6767, a = 3.0669 AU, P = 5.37 years. [IAUC 8485, 2005 February 13]
    A/2003 WE42 [Dossin] is an asteroid, of 18th magnitude, identified with asteroid 1982 YA, which was discovered by F Dossin at Haute Province observatory. It is in a 6.92 year orbit, with perihelion at 1.10 AU and an eccentricity of 0.67. It reached perihelion in mid October 2003. [MPEC 2004-D48, 2004 February 28] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet, and it can approach Jupiter to within 1 AU, and the Earth to within 0.2 AU.
    2003 WT42 (LINEAR) was first identified as an unusual asteroid, of 18th magnitude, discovered by LINEAR on 2003 November 19.26. The initial elements gave a 13,000 year orbit, with perihelion at 5.23 AU and an eccentricity of 0.991, with perihelion in April 2006. [MPEC 2003-W48, 2003 November 24, 28-day orbit]

    Observations in mid January 2004 demonstrated the presence of a coma, confirming the object as a comet. The latest orbit is hyperbolic, but perihelion remains a distant one at 5.19 AU in mid April 2006.

    The Central Bureau has received word that a weak coma has been imaged for 2003 WT_42, an object originally reported as asteroidal by LINEAR (cf. MPEC 2003-W48, MPS 92017), by R. P. Binzel (at the Kitt Peak 4-m telescope) and by J. Licandro, M. Serra-Ricart, J. de Leon Cruz, and N. Pinilla-Alonso (at the 3.56-m Telescopio Nazionale Galileo + Near Infrared Camera- Spectrograph and the 2.5-m Nordic Optical Telescope + Andalucia Faint Object Spectrograph and Camera). Binzel reports that, in 1".5 seeing on 2003 Dec. 29.1-29.2 UT with the TV guider, 2003 WT_42 appeared distinctly more diffuse than stars of similar brightness, with a coma diameter of about 2"; broadband (500-900 nm) images showed larger north-south FWHM profiles when compared to stars of similar brightness. Licandro et al. report that a coma diameter of about 6"-10" (total mag R = 17.4 +/- 0.1; R-J = 0.8 +/- 0.15, which is close to the solar color) was clearly seen on simultaneous infrared and visible (broadband R and J_s) images of 2003 WT_42 obtained on 2004 Jan. 14.9. [IAUC 8270, 2004 January 16]

    Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2004-E05 [2004 March 1] that the "original" and "future" barycentric values of 1/a are +0.000207 and +0.000362 (+/- 0.000120) AU^-1, respectively, suggesting that this could be a "new" comet from the Oort cloud.


    A/2003 WG166 (LINEAR) is an unusual asteroid, of 19th magnitude, discovered by LINEAR on 2003 November 30.26. It is in a 11.7 year, high inclination orbit, with perihelion at 1.84 AU and an eccentricity of 0.64. It reaches perihelion at the end of December. [MPEC 2003-X24, 2003 December 4, 4-day orbit] There have been no recent close approaches to Jupiter or the Earth, largely thanks to the high inclination orbit.
    A/2003 WN188 (Catalina) is an asteroid, of 19th magnitude, discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey on 2003 November 29.41. It is in a 55 year orbit, with perihelion at 2.22 AU and an eccentricity of 0.85. It reaches perihelion in early April 2004. [MPEC 2003-Y43, 2003 December 22, 28-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a comet, though there have been no recent approachs to Jupiter or Saturn closer than 3 AU.
    2003 XD10 (P/LINEAR-NEAT) LINEAR discovered an 19th mag asteroid on December 4.34. NEAT independently discovered the object on December 14.43 and reported it as cometary. It was posted on the NEO confirmation page on cometary activity was noted by Peter Birtwhistle amongst others. Prediscovery images were made by LINEAR on November 20. The preliminary elliptic orbit of 6.1 years puts it at perihelion in mid September at 1.88 AU. It will fade.

    An apparently asteroidal object with not-unusual motion reported on Dec. 4 and 5 by the LINEAR project, and designated 2003 XD_10 on MPS 92917, was independently discovered with the NEAT 1.2-m Schmidt telescope at Palomar on Dec. 14.4 and reported then to be cometary (with a faint short tail toward the east-southeast) by K. J. Lawrence. Following posting on the NEO Confirmation Page, several other CCD observers have also noted the object's cometary nature, including P. Birtwhistle (Great Shefford, Berkshire, England, 0.30-m reflector; on Dec. 14.9, from co-added images totaling 15 min exposure, diffuse coma of diameter 10", extended in p.a. about 260 deg, surrounding a central condensation of mag 19.4; on Dec. 15.9, 8" coma and 45" tail in p.a. 255 deg), J. E. McGaha (Tucson, AZ, 0.36-m reflector; on Dec. 16.3, three co-added 1-min frames show a small starlike condensation with a 8" coma), J. Young (Table Mountain, CA, 0.6-m reflector; on Dec. 17.3, 3" asymmetric coma with a hint of tail about 12" long in p.a. 250-260 deg), and R. Fredrick and R. Trentman (Louisburg, KS, 0.75-m reflector; on Dec. 17.4, broad fan-shaped tail 20" long in p.a. 240 deg). [IAUC 8257, 2003 December 17]


    A/2003 XM (LINEAR) is an asteroid, of 19th magnitude, discovered by LINEAR on 2003 December 3.33. It is in a 5.4 year orbit, with perihelion at 0.99 AU and an eccentricity of 0.68. It reaches perihelion in early February 2004. [MPEC 2003-X26, 2003 December 4, 1-day orbit] The orbit is typical of a Jupiter family comet, and it can approach Jupiter to within 0.1 AU, approaching this distance in 1974. It is also a PHA, approaching to 0.012 AU of the Earth at the descending node.
    2003 YM159 (P/LINEAR-Hill) = 2004 V5 The Catalina Sky Survey reported the observation of two cometary objects on frames taken on November 10.5. These were linked to an asteroidal object detected by LINEAR in October, and then to an asteroid found by LINEAR last December. The brighter of the two cometary objects links to the asteroid and is the primary component. The orbit is elliptical with a period of 22.4 years and perihelion at 4.4 AU in February 2005. Peter Birtwistle gives further information on the discovery.

    The Catalina Sky Survey has reported observations of two short-tailed comet suspects on four CCD frames obtained over a 39-min span on Nov. 10.5 UT (observer R. Hill; 0.68-m Schmidt telescope). The head of the slightly fainter of the two was situated about 102" west and 33" north of that of the brighter and close to end of the latter's tail. Assuming that the two orbits differed only in T, B. G. Marsden, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, found that the objects -- if real -- had to be intermediate-period comets some 4.3-4.4 AU from the earth. The assumption also revealed likely LINEAR observations of a single asteroidal object on Oct. 8 and 24, and a three-night linkage then showed identity with the LINEAR asteroidal object 2003 YM_159, observed on 2003 Dec. 17 and 30 (see MPS 109905) -- the identity clearly being with the brighter 2004 Nov. 10 object, now designated component A. T for component B will occur about 0.23 day later than for component A. [IAUC 8433, 2004 November 10]

    The comet was originally named LINEAR-Catalina, however Brian Marsden notes on MPEC 2004-V79

    Consultation with the IAU Committee on Small-Body Nomenclature has yielded the decision to introduce for this comet (cf. IAUC 8433, MPEC 2004-V52) the new principal designation P/2004 V5 and to replace the name LINEAR- Catalina with LINEAR-Hill. The components A and B are defined as before, although the opportunity has also been taken to reprint here the previously tabulated Nov. 10.5 observations with their new coded designations. The orbital elements and ephemeris refer to component A. Component B will pass perihelion 0.23 day after component A.

    While the initial report inferred that the discovery of comet P/2003 YM_159 at Catalina was a team discovery (thus the name 'LINEAR-Catalina' given on IAUC 8433), it has since been determined that observer Rik Hill was alone in discovering, measuring, and reporting the comet -- thereby allowing his name to be used in place of the survey name (as also approved by the Catalina team). Consultation with the IAU Committee on Small-Body Nomenclature has yielded the decision to introduce for this comet the new principal designation P/2004 V5 and to replace the name 'LINEAR-Catalina' with 'LINEAR-Hill'. The components A and B are defined as before. The following improved orbital elements from MPEC 2004-V79 are for component A, with the preliminary elements for component B being well satisfied with the same elements but with Delta(T) = +0.23 day. [IAUC 8438, 2004 November 15]

    Z. Sekanina, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, writes that his comet fragmentation model (cf. IAUC 8434) shows that the two nuclei of P/2004 V5 (MPECs 2004-V79 and 2004-W07) broke apart around 2001.9 +/- 0.3 year, at a heliocentric distance of about 6.3 AU and 2.5 years before perihelion. The separation velocity of the companion (fragment B) relative to the primary (A) pointed below the orbital plane and was at least 2.6 m/s. The motion of B has since been subjected to a differential deceleration of 40 +/- 6 units of 10**-5 the solar attraction. Predicted separations and position angles of B relative to A are as follows (equinox 2000.0): 2004 Nov. 21.0 TT, 131", 287 deg; Dec. 1.0, 137", 288 deg; 11.0, 144", 289 deg; 21.0, 152", 290 deg; 31.0, 159", 290 deg; 2005 Jan. 10.0, 167", 291 deg; 20.0, 175", 291 deg; 30.0, 181", 291 deg. [IAUC 8440, 2004 November 18]


    Ephemerides of current comets are available on the CBAT ephemeris page and positions of newly discovered comets are on the NEO confirmation page.
    More information on LINEAR. List of comets discovered by selected search programs.
    The Northumberland refractor is the telescope that was used in the search for Neptune. It now has a 0.30-m f20 doublet lens which gives a stellar limiting magnitude of around 15 at the zenith on good nights. The Thorrowgood refractor was built in 1864 and has a 0.20-m f14 doublet lens.
    Published by Jonathan Shanklin. Jon Shanklin - jds@ast.cam.ac.uk