Copyright © 2001 by P. Kusnirak and P. Pravec
This image was obtained by Peter Kusnirak and Petr Pravec (Ondrejov Observatory, Czech Republic) on 2001 August 20.08. The image was obtained with a 65-cm reflector and a CCD camera. The image displays three representations of the same image of this comet. The large, left-hand image is the original, untouched image. The two right-hand images display the brightness contours within the coma and tail. The vertical streaks extending above and below some stars are simply a CCD artifact that occurs when starlight is overexposed on a CCD chip.
Vance Avery Petriew (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada) was observing with a 0.51-m reflector at a star party at Cyprus Hills, Saskatchewan, when he discovered this comet on 2001 August 18.42. It was then near the star Beta Tauri, near the border of Taurus and Auriga. In an email to German amateur astronomer Maik Meyer, Petriew said the comet was discovered accidentally because of a mistake. He was looking for the Crab Nebula and had actually started from the wrong star in Taurus. Petriew described the comet as 3 arc minutes in diameter and condensed. The magnitude was estimated as 11. The comet was quickly confirmed by R. Huziak and P. Campbell at Cyprus Hills with smaller telescopes. After an announcement was made to the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams, a request was made for a more official confirmation. A. Hale (New Mexico) responded with several precise positions on August 19. His CCD camera revealed a magnitude of 13.0-13.4. Visually, Hale said the comet was magnitude 11.0, with a diameter of 2.5 arc minutes.
The comet was very quickly identified as a periodic comet, with the first orbits published on August 21. These indicated periods of 4.60 years (K. Kinoshita) and 5.51 years (B. G. Marsden). As further positions were obtained, the period was found to be 5.50 years. The comet appears to have passed 0.15 AU from Jupiter on 1982 July 6. The perihelion distance was then changed from 1.37 AU to 1.00 AU.
Many observers were initially placing the comet's brightness between 10.5 and 11 in the days following discovery, but the comet continued to brighten and was near magnitude 10 by the end of August. The diameter of the coma typically fell within the range of 2 to 4 arc minutes, with the size closely correlating with the size of the instrument used to observe the comet. The degree of condensation remained moderate. Although no tail was visually seen, a short, narrow tail was detected by observers using CCD cameras.
Copyright © 2001 by G. Sostero
This image was obtained by G. Sostero (Remanzacco Observatory, Italy) on 2001 August 21.08. The image was composed of 4 30-second exposures obtained with a 0.3-m f/2.8 Baker-Schmidt and a Hi-Sis 24 CCD camera. The image was reversed to better illustrate the comet's appearance.
Copyright © 2001 by Gianluca Masi
This image was obtained by G. Masi (Ceccano, Italy) on 2001 August 21.12. It was artificially colored by Masi to bring out details in the comet. The image was obtained with a 28-cm f/6.3 Schmidt-Cassegrain and an SBIG ST7 CCD camera.
Copyright © 2001 by G. Sostero
This image was obtained by G. Sostero (Remanzacco Observatory, Italy) on 2001 August 22.03. The image was composed of 10 30-second exposures obtained with a 0.3-m f/2.8 Baker-Schmidt and a Hi-Sis 24 CCD camera. The image was reversed to better illustrate the comet's appearance. The comet was then displaying a tail extending 2 arc minutes toward PA 283°.
Copyright © 2001 by K. Horn and G. Neumann
This image was obtained by Konrad Horn and Gerhard Neumann (Salem, Germany) on 2001 August 22.09. The image was composed of 30 60-second exposures obtained with a Genesis 100/500 telescope and an AUDINE CCD camera. The comet was then displaying a tail extending 6 arc minutes toward PA 276°.
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