Current comets

Last updated 2000 October 4

  • 2P/Encke
  • 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1
  • 43P/Wolf-Harrington
  • 46P/Wirtanen
  • 55P/Tempel-Tuttle
  • 65P/Gunn
  • 78P/Gehrels 2
  • 81P/Wild 2
  • 103P/Hartley 2
  • 104P/Kowal 2
  • 118P/Shoemaker-Levy 4
  • 121P/Shoemaker-Holt 2
  • 1995 O1 Hale-Bopp
  • 1996 B3 SOHO
  • 1996 D1 SOHO
  • 1996 F2 SOHO
  • 1996 H1 SOHO
  • 1996 J1 Evans-Drinkwater
  • 1996 M1 SOHO
  • 1996 M2 SOHO
  • 1996 O1 SOHO
  • 1996 O2 SOHO
  • 1996 O3 SOHO
  • 1996 O4 SOHO
  • 1996 R3
  • 1996 Q2 SOHO
  • 1996 Q3 SOHO
  • 1996 S3 SOHO
  • 1996 X1 SOHO
  • 1996 X2 SOHO
  • 1996 Y1 SOHO
  • 1997 A1 NEAT
  • 1997 B1 P/Kobayashi
  • 1997 B2 SOHO
  • 1997 C1 P/Gehrels
  • 1997 BA6 Spacewatch
  • 1997 D1 Mueller
  • 1997 E1 55P/Tempel-Tuttle
  • 1997 G1 Montani
  • 1997 G2 Montani
  • 1997 H1 130P/McNaught-Hughes
  • 1997 H2 SOHO
  • 1997 H3 SOHO
  • 1997 J1 Mueller
  • 1997 J2 Meunier-Dupouy
  • 1997 K1 SOHO
  • 1997 K2 [SOHO]
  • 1997 L1 Zhu-Balam
  • 1997 L2 SOHO
  • 1997 L3 SOHO
  • \
  • 1997 L4 SOHO
  • 1997 M1 SOHO
  • 1997 M2 131P/Mueller 2
  • 1997 N1 Tabur
  • 1997 MD10
  • 1997 N2 132P/Helin-Roman-Alu 2
  • 1997 O1 Tilbrook
  • 1997 P1 SOHO
  • 1997 P2 Spacewatch
  • 1997 P3 SOHO
  • 1997 Q1 SOHO
  • 1997 Q2 SOHO
  • 1997 R1 SOHO
  • 1997 R2 SOHO
  • 1997 R3 SOHO
  • 1997 S1 SOHO
  • 1997 S2 SOHO
  • 1997 T1 Utsunomiya
  • 1997 T2 SOHO
  • P/1997 T3 Lagerkvist-Carsenty
  • 1997 T4 SOHO
  • 1997 T5 SOHO
  • 1997 U1 SOHO
  • 1997 V1 P/Larsen
  • 1997 V2 SOHO
  • 1997 W1 SOHO
  • 1997 W2 SOHO
  • 1997 X1 SOHO
  • 1997 X2 134P/Kowal-Vavrova
  • 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.


    Comet 2P/Encke was recovered by southern hemisphere observers in late June, but was only visible for a couple of weeks. It was a little fainter than expected and faded from 7th to 10th mag.

    This was the comet's 58th observed return to perihelion since its discovery by Mechain in 1786. The orbit is quite stable, and with a period of 3.3 years apparitions repeat on a 10 year cycle. This year the comet was best seen from the southern hemisphere as an evening object (it was not observable from the UK at all). The comet reached perihelion in late May and made a relatively close approach to the earth around July 4, when it was 0.19 AU distant and moved at over 5 degrees per day. There is some evidence for a secular fading, and observations at this favourable return will be important to confirm this. Another suggestion is that Encke has two active regions, an old one with declining activity, which operates prior to perihelion and a recently activated one present after perihelion. The comet is the progenitor of the Taurid meteor complex and may be associated with several Apollo asteroids.

    Observations received (15) give a preliminary light curve of 11.8 + 5 log d + 18.6 log r

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 July 7, updated 1997 July 28 .


    Comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 is now emerging from solar conjunction. In February and early March the comet was in outburst, peaking at around 12th mag. It was not seen in April, but returned to visibility in early May, rising to 12th mag late in the month. I observed it at 13.7: on May 12.95 with the Northumberland 0.30-m refractor. On May 29.97 it was 12.0: in my 0.20-m T x 75, dia 1.8', DC3. Andrew Pearce reports glimpsing it at around 14th mag in his 0.41-m reflector at the end of December.

    This annual comet has frequent outbursts and seems to be more often active than not, though it rarely gets brighter than 12m. In early 1996 it was in outburst for several months. The randomly spaced outbursts may be due to a thermal heat wave propagating into the nucleus and triggering sublimation of CO inside the comet. It is observable in Virgo for the rest of the year. This comet is an ideal target for those equipped with CCDs and it should be observed at every opportunity.

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 June 2, updated 1997 June 23 .


    Comet 43P/Wolf-Harrington is visible in the morning sky at around 13th mag. I observed it on September 9.14 in my 0.20-m SC, making it 13.4:, dia 0.9' and DC2. On October 10.17 it was a weakly condensed diffuse glow in the 0.30-m refractor x170, DC2, diameter 1.0'. On November 4.2 it was 12.6 in the 0.30-m refractor. It is now becoming too low for easy observation from the UK.

    This is the ninth observed return of the comet, which was discovered in 1924, then lost until 1951. The comet is in a chaotic orbit, and made a close approach to Jupiter in 1936 which reduced its perihelion distance from 2.4 to 1.6 AU. At the last return the comet reached 13m and this time round it could do a little better at 11m - 12m. The comet is a morning object and remains at a similar magnitude throughout the apparition. It will emerge from the summer twilight in early August and the solar elongation continues to slowly increase throughout the apparition, but the comet also moves southwards. It is past its brightest but should remain visible until the end of the year. Southern hemisphere observers should be able to follow it for a few more months as it approaches opposition and slowly fades.

    Observations received so far (24) give an uncorrected preliminary light curve of
    8.6 + 5 log d + 16.3 log r

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 December 28, updated 1997 December 29 .


    Comet 46P/Wirtanen is no longer visible at this apparition. It peaked at around 10th mag in March.

    The comet is in a chaotic orbit, and its perihelion distance was much reduced due to approaches to Jupiter in 1972 and 84. It has been reported to outburst, but BAA data suggests that it has just been rejuvenated after the perihelion distance was reduced. It is a target for the Rosetta mission. A December perihelion would give a close approach to the Earth, however the present period is exactly 5.5 years so that perihelia alternate between March and September.

    Observations received (48) give a preliminary light curve of 8.1 + 5 log d + 13.7 log r

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 May 31, updated 1997 July 28


    Comet 65P/Gunn is a little brighter than expected at 13.5. I observed it with a 0.20-m SC on September 6.09 and made it 13.5:, dia 0.8', DC3. It is now too faint for visual observation.

    The comet was discovered in 1970 after a perturbation by Jupiter in 1965 had reduced the perihelion distance from 3.39 to 2.44 AU. In 1980 two prediscovery images were found on Palomar plates taken in 1954. The comet can be followed all round the orbit as it has a relatively low eccentricity of 0.32.

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 December 21, updated 1998 February 4 .


    Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 is also a little brighter than expected. On November 4.2 it was 13.0 in the 0.30-m refractor. Observing in very transparent conditions on November 21.95 I estimated it at 13.6 in the same instrument x170. It is currently at its brightest.

    Observations received so far (32) give an uncorrected preliminary light curve of
    7.7 + 5 log d + 12.3 log r

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 December 28, updated 1997 December 29 .


    Comet 81P/Wild 2 is no longer visible at this apparition.

    81P/Wild 2 is a new comet that made a very close (0.006 AU) approach to Jupiter in 1974. Prior to this it was in a 40 year orbit that had perihelion at 5 AU and aphelion at 25 AU. The Stardust spacecraft is due to visit it in 2004 and recover material for return to earth in 2006. Only a few observations were made at the last return in 1991, when it was 13m. This return was better and the comet peaked at around 10th mag in March.

    Observations received (205) give a preliminary light curve of 6.2 + 5 log d + 14.2 log r

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 July 3, updated 1997 July 28


    Comet 103P/Hartley 2 is now at its brightest. An observation on October 4 made it 13.5 and a further observation on October 7.8 with 0.33-m L approximately 13.0. By October 21.7 it had brightened to 12.6, but was very diffuse and difficult to see. At the end of the month, on October 31.76 it had reached mag 10.8 in my 0.33-m Lx100, but was DC2, dia 2.7'. An observation in moonlight on November 10.77 put it at 10.6:, still very diffuse. On November 22.75 it had reached 9.9 in the same instrument. By November 30th it had become a little more condensed and was mag 9.5. Observations in early December put it at 9th magnitude and a binocular object.

    In 1982 the comet made a close approach to Jupiter, and it was discovered by Hartley four years later, around nine months after perihelion. It was accidently recovered by T V Kryachko of Majdanak, USSR, on 1991 July 9.85, returning 5.6 days earlier than predicted. It was well observed by the section at this return and observations showed that the brightness peaked around 13 days after perihelion. This return is also a good one and for the northern hemisphere it is likely to be the brightest predicted periodic comet of the year. It is an evening object throughout the apparition and slowly brightens reaching 9m in late December when it is at perihelion. It will then slowly fade, but should remain observable until April. The orbit comes close to that of the Earth and it could produce a meteor shower at the descending node in November. Calculations by Harold Ridley gave a radiant of 19h56m +14, some 5 Nf Altair, with a likely maximum around November 17. See also information from the IMO

    Observations received so far (71) give an uncorrected preliminary light curve of
    8.8 + 5 log d + 23.4 log r
    nearly identical with that from the previous apparition.

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 December 29, updated 1997 December 29


    Comet 104P/Kowal 2 is brightening and is now around 14th mag.

    Observations received so far (7) give a preliminary light curve of
    10.2 + 5 log d + 13.2 log r

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 December 28, updated 1997 December 29


    Comet 118P/Shoemaker-Levy 4 is no longer observable at this apparition.

    Observations received (28) give preliminary light curves of
    8.8 + 5 log d + [10] log r or 7.3 + 5 log d + [15] log r

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 March 31, updated 1997 July 7


    Comet 121P/Shoemaker-Holt 2 is no longer observable at this apparition.

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 March 8, updated 1997 July 7


    Comet 132P/Helin-Roman-Alu is no longer visible at this apparition.

    Observations in ICQ format, only observation 1997 December 31, updated 1998 February 4


    Comet 1995 O1 Hale-Bopp is now a morning object for observers south of the equator, and it has faded below naked eye visibility. It was a 'great comet', though in some ways comet Hyakutake made a greater impression with its long straight gas tail.

    Recent observations show a dramatic fade of about 1 mag starting around October 20, which is well shown in this lightcurve . The comet is now near 7th mag.

    This analysis of the comet's light curve, coma diameter and tail length was made for the TA special supplement on the comet which was published in the autumn. Over the entire apparition the comet has the corrected light curve:
    -0.70 + 5 log d + 7.57 log r
    There are significant variations from this, and the comet is currently nearly a magnitude fainter than indicated by this equation.

    For more information on the comet see the CBAT or ESO pages.

    1995 observations (9kb) / 1996 observations (114kb) / 1997 observations (Jan - April) (128kb) / 1997 observations (May - December) (34kb) in ICQ format, last observation 1997 December 29


    1996 J1 Evans-Drinkwater was discovered on UK Schmidt plates. Although reported as 16 mag at discovery, a visual observation put it at 13.5 and it could have reached 9th mag at perihelion, though it was very poorly placed for observation. The comet was recovered on CCD images following conjunction and was anomolously bright with a companion and seemed to have split. It is now too faint for observation. Michael Drinkwater is an ex PhD student at the Institute of Astronomy.

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 August 6 updated 1997 November 12


    1996 B3 SOHO, 1996 D1 SOHO, 1996 F2 SOHO, 1996 H1 SOHO, 1996 M1 SOHO, 1996 M2 SOHO, 1996 O1 SOHO, 1996 O2 SOHO, 1996 O3 SOHO, 1996 O4 SOHO, 1996 Q2 SOHO, 1996 Q3 SOHO, 1996 S3 SOHO, 1996 X1 SOHO, 1996 X2 SOHO, 1996 Y1 SOHO, 1997 B2 SOHO, 1997 H3 SOHO, 1997 K1 SOHO, 1997 L3 SOHO, 1997 L4 SOHO, 1997 M1 SOHO, 1997 P1 SOHO, 1997 P3 SOHO, 1997 Q1 SOHO, 1997 Q2 SOHO, 1997 R1 SOHO, 1997 R2 SOHO, 1997 R3 SOHO, 1997 S1 SOHO, 1997 S2 SOHO, 1997 T2 SOHO, 1997 T4 SOHO, 1997 T5 SOHO, 1997 U1 SOHO, 1997 V2 SOHO, 1997 W1 SOHO, 1997 W2 SOHO, 1997 X1 SOHO were all discovered with the SOHO LASCO coronographs and have not been observed elsewhere. They were all sungrazers and not expected to survive perihelion, however they are clearly not all members of the same Kreutz group .
    1996 R3 Details of a faint comet discovered on an ESO Schmidt plate taken last October were given on IAUC 6564 (1997 February 21. The object was eventually confirmed on images taken by the Spacewatch and NEAT teams last September. It is an intrinsically very faint comet and may be periodic, though there are not enough observations to confirm this.
    1997 A1 NEAT. The NEAT Team discovered a very faint comet (19th mag) on January 11, with the USAF/GEODSS telescope on Hawaii. It is a distant object and unlikely to be observed visually, however at least one UK amateur has obtained CCD images.
    1997 B1 P/Kobayashi was initially reported to the IAU by S Nakano as an asteroid discovered by Takao Kobayashi on January 31, but subsequent observations showed that it was in a cometary orbit and further observations by W Offutt showed it to have a coma and tail. The nuclear magnitude of the comet is around 17, but visual observations may put it brighter. This is the first amateur CCD discovery of a comet and is also the faintest amateur discovery and shows that the field is not lost to the professional search teams.
    1997 C1 P/Gehrels Tom Gehrels discovered a comet by eye during the course of the Spacewatch survey. The comet is a periodic one, and is currently 17th mag and fading.
    1997 BA6 Spacewatch Details of the orbit of an unusual asteroid, 1997 BA6 were given on MPEC 1997 C-13. The orbit is very eccentric, with a period near 4500 years and a semi-major axis of several hundred AU. This is more typical of a long period comet and subsequent observations with large telescopes showed a small faint coma. Currently it is near 13th mag and is at high southern dec. Michael Mattiazzo reported it at 13.0 on 2000 July 4.

    Observations received so far (94) give an uncorrected preliminary light curve of 4.6 + 5 log d + 9.8 log r

    Observations in ICQ format , last observation 2000 October 1, updated 2000 November 22.


    1997 D1 Mueller A new comet was discovered on plates taken by Jean Mueller for the 2nd Palomar Sky Survey with the 1.2m Oschin Schmidt Camera on Feb 17th. The object was reported as 16th mag, but appeared brighter to visual observers. The comet has become difficult to see because it is very diffuse. An observation on October 10.16 with the Northumberland refractor put it at 13.8, DC1, diameter 0.5'. An observation with the same instrument x170 on November 21.97 made it a difficult 13.8. On December 1.0 it was easier to see and had a starlike stellar nucleus, with total mag 13.2, DC s3. If the light curve holds (which it doesn't seem to be) it would peak at around 11th mag in December, however anything brighter than 13th mag seems unlikely.

    Observations received so far (40) give an uncorrected preliminary light curve of
    9.5 + 5 log d + [5] log r
    though this is a very poor fit.

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 December 28, updated 1997 December 29


    55P/Tempel-Tuttle (1997 E1) has been recovered by observers using the Keck 10m telescope and confirmed using the ESO 3.5m NTT at mag 22. Here is some historical information on the comet.

    It became visible to amateur observers towards the end of the year at 13th mag. It is a morning object and brightens rapidly as heads towards a relatively close approach to the earth in mid January, when it may reach 8m. Intrinsically it is quite a faint comet and by the time it reaches perihelion at the end of February will be over 1 AU from the earth, so it will not put on as good a show as is expected from the meteors it has produced.

    Observations received so far (5) give an uncorrected preliminary light curve of
    9.1 + 5 log d + [25] log r or 9.8 + 5 log d + [20] log r

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 December 28, updated 1997 December 29


    1997 G1 P/Montani was announced on IAUC 6622. It is a 19th mag object discovered by Joe Montani of the Spacewatch team. It is a distant object, with a perihelion distance of 4.3 AU and will not become any brighter.
    1997 G2 Montani was announced on IAUC 6626. It is an 18th mag object, again reported by Joe Montani of the Spacewatch team. The comet is predicted to brighten to 16th mag at perihelion in April next year, but is at high southern declination. It is possible that visual observation could make it around 12th magnitude at that time, as visual observers often find comets brighter than CCD estimates.
    1997 H1 130P/McNaught-Hughes has been recovered by Jim Scotti with the 0.9-m Spacewatch telescope and by A Nakamura with the Kuma Kogen Astronomical Observatory 0.6-m f6 Ritchey-Chretien telescope. The comet was first seen in 1991 and the orbit is updated on IAUC 6640. The comet is unlikely to get much brighter than 18th mag.
    1997 H2 SOHO discovered a new comet on April 29. It was expected to fade rapidly and no visual observations were reported.
    1997 J1 Mueller Jean Mueller discovered a 13th mag comet with the Palomar Schmidt in early May. It didn't get much brighter and is now too faint for visual observation.

    Observations received (24) give a preliminary uncorrected light curve of 7.3 + 5 log d + [10] log r

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 July 13, updated 1997 November 12


    1997 J2 Meunier-Dupouy French amateur Michel Meunier reported a comet 6' SW of 1997 J1 on May 7.9, moving more slowly and perhaps 0.5 mag brighter. Independently another pair of French amateurs P Dupouy and J F Lahitte reported it the next day.

    On September 22.87 I made it 12.1 in my 0.33-m L x100, DC2, diameter 0.9', however it was quite a difficult object to see. Using the Northumberland refractor (0.30-m, f18) on October 4.8 I made it 13.0 (comets are usually fainter with this instrument than with shorter focal length instruments). On October 7.8 it was an easy object in my 0.33-m L at 12.3. On October 10.20 it was a difficult object in the dawn sky in the Thorrowgood 0.20-m refractor x140 at mag 12.7:, DC3, diameter 0.8'. Easier than 103P it is still moderately difficult to see. On October 21.7 I made it 12.1 in my 0.33-m L x100, DC3 suggesting there is little change in the brightness over the past month. On November 30.8 it was 11.6.

    Observations received so far (145) give an uncorrected preliminary light curve of
    4.2 + 5 log d + 8.8 log r
    Observations are fairly well scattered, but if the light curve holds it will peak at around 11th mag in December and be visible until the end of 1998.

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 December 27, updated 1997 December 29


    1997 K2 T. Makinen, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki; and J.-L. Bertaux, Service d'Aeronomie, Verrieres-le-Buisson, reported for the SWAN team the probable discovery of a comet from its hydrogen Lyman-alpha emission appearing on full-sky images (wavelength range 10-180 nm) taken from the SOHO spacecraft during May-July 1997. The first image was on May 20.88 and the resolution is 1 square degree. The discovery was made by Makinen in the course of a complete survey of visible comets in the SWAN images during Jan. 1996-June 1998. The appearance was comparable to that of comet C/1997 O1 (Tilbrook) in SWAN images during 1997 June 17-Sept. 6, suggesting that m_1 was roughly 10-12. Peak Lyman-alpha intensity values (in Rayleighs) for C/1997 K2 were: June 5.0 UT, 10.4; 7.4, 12.9; 13.1, 12.3; 14.8, 14.7; 24.5, 17.9; 26.6, 17.9; 28.7, 17.4. The object increased in extent from 2 deg x 2 deg to 6 deg x 4 deg during this time. [IAUC 7327, 1999 December 4]

    The SWAN instrument is a Finnish - French collaboration designed to study lyman alpha emission in the 115 - 180 nm band. It has a 5x5 array of pixels with 1 degree resolution and can image the entire sky. The sensor has imaged: 46P/Wirtanen, 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova, 1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp), 1995 Y1 (Hyakutake), 1996 B2 (Hyakutake), 1996 Q1 (Tabur) and 1997 O1 (Tilbrook)


    1997 L1 Zhu-Balam J Zhu reported observations of 5 objects detected on June 4 by the Beijing Astronomical Observatory 0.6-m Schmidt during a search program. D D Balam of Victoria noted that one of them was clearly cometary with the 1.8-m reflector of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. The comet is 17th mag and was at perihelion in 1996 and will fade. The comet was originally named Xinglong and thought to be a main belt asteroid, but was renamed in 1998 [IAUC 6811, 1998 January 23] after the discoverer and the person who pointed out that the object was cometary.
    1997 L2 SOHO discovered another new faint sun approaching comet on June 10, however this one was not a member of the Kreutz group. It is expected to fade rapidly and is unlikely to be seen visually.
    1997 M2 131P/Mueller Japanese observers A Sugie and A Nakamura have independently recovered comet Mueller 2 with 0.60-m reflectors and CCDs. The comet was around 19th mag.
    1997 N1 Tabur Vello Tabur of Wanniassa, ACT, Australia discovered a 10th mag comet with his 0.20-m f5 reflector on July 3. The comet was weakly condensed with a 1.5' diameter coma. There was some evidence that the comet was becoming more diffuse and disintegrating as it approached perihelion, suggesting that it wouldn't survive perihelion passage. I attempted observation of it on September 7.84 and September 8.84 with the 0.20-m refractor and suspected an object of around 9.5 - 10.0, and again suspected an object of 11.8 on September 22.82, however no other confirming observations have been made.

    Observations received so far (11) give a preliminary light curve of 9.4 + 5 log d + 7.3 log r

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 September 22, updated 1997 October 3


    Asteroid 1997 MD10 is on a cometary orbit. It has a very eccentric orbit, with a period of 124 years, reaching perihelion at 1.5 AU in November. Currently 18th mag and 2 AU from the Sun it is expected to fade because its distance from the Earth is increasing. It is possible that it may grow a coma as it gets closer to perihelion or it may be one of the many extinct Halley type comets that are expected on dynamical grounds.
    1997 N2 132P/Helin-Roman-Alu 2 was recovered by Carl Hergenrother using a CCD camera on the SAO 1.2m reflector on Mt Hopkins. The comet was around 20th mag and nearly stellar. The correction to the predicted elements was -0.6 day.
    1997 O1 Tilbrook Jason Tilbrook, Clare, S Australia discovered a 10th mag comet on July 22 with his 0.20-m reflector. The comet is diffuse with a 2' diameter coma. The comet will fade and is now too close to the sun to observe.

    Observations in ICQ format, only observation 1997 July 27, updated 1997 September 1


    1997 P2 Spacewatch. The automated search program on the Spacewatch telescope discovered a 19th mag comet on August 12. It is a distant object and will not become brighter than 18th mag. The orbit given on MPEC 1997-Q02 is strongly hyperbolic and is only exceeded by comet Bowell 1980 E1 which was also perturbed by Jupiter. The comet passed within 1 AU of Jupiter at the beginning of February this year.
    1997 T1 Utsunomiya Syogo Utsunomiya of Azamihara, Minami-Oguni cho, Aso-gun, Kumamoto-ken, Japan visually discovered a mag 10.5 comet, strongly condensed with a 2' coma diameter using 25x150B on October 3.6. [IAUC 6751, 1997 October 5]. The comet will fade as the distance from earth increases, although perihelion is not until December. The comet should have been brighter than 12th mag throughout September and may be visible on patrol photographs. Gabriel Oksa observed the comet on October 6.80, estimating it at 9.8, diameter 3' and DC 3 in 20x80B. I was able to observe it on October 7.84, making it 9.8 in my 0.33-m L, DC3, diameter 1.1' with a 2' tail in pa 113. A CCD image by Roderick Willstrop with his 3MT showed a strong central condensation and prominent tail as does this image by Denis Buczynski on October 8.09. Vince Tuboly observing on October 8.8 made the comet 10.5 in his 0.30-m reflector, with a 6', DC2 coma. My latest observation on October 21.7 made it 9.3 in my 0.33-m L x60. Martin Mobberley recorded this image on the same date. On November 1.80 I made it 9.9 in the same instrument. An observation in moonlight with the N'land refractor on November 10.75 put it at 11.5, but an observation with the reflector at the end of the month put it at 10.4. It will soon be too low in the twilight for observation from the UK.

    Observations received so far (70) give an uncorrected preliminary light curve of
    7.7 + 5 log d + 11.2 log r

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1997 December 4, updated 1997 December 12


    1997 T3 Lagerkvist-Carsenty Uri Carsenty and Andreas Nathues, of the DLR Institute of Planetary Exploration, Berlin discovered a 19th mag cometary object on October 5.1 during the course of the Uppsala-DLR Trojan Survey, in collaboration with C-I Lagerkvist, S Mottola and G Hahn. [IAUC 6754, 1997 October 7]. It is in a distant elliptical orbit with a period of 19.7 years and will not become any brighter. The comet was not named until January 1998, when it was named after the discoverer and person who found that it was a cometary object [IAUC 6811, 1998 January 23]
    1997 V1 P/Larsen Jeff Larsen discovered a 17th mag comet on images taken with the 0.91-m Spacewatch telescope at Kitt Peak on November 3.2. [IAUC 6767, 1997 November 3]. It is a distant, periodic comet with a period of 10.8 years and will fade.
    1997 X2 134P/Kowal-Vavrova Jim Scotti recovered the comet with the Spacewatch telescope at Kitt Peak on December 5.5 when it was 22nd mag. The predicted ephemeris required a correction of +5.3 days. [IAUC 6784, 1997 December 10]

    Observations in ICQ format, last observation 1999 June 14, updated 1999 July 7


    Published by Jonathan Shanklin. jds@ast.cam.ac.uk