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Past, Present, and Future Orbits by Kazuo Kinoshita

Recovery photos of 221P exposed on 2009 June 1 and 3 by L. Elenin and M. Schwartz
Copyright © 2009 by L. Elenin and M. Schwartz (New Mexico and Oregon, USA)


     The discovery of an apparently asteroidal object was reported by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program (New Mexico, USA) on 2002 May 9.28. The magnitude was given as 18.0. Four additional images using the same telescope on that night revealed a stellar object of magnitude 18.2-18.7.

Historical Highlights

  • Following the identification of this object as a comet, Brian G. Marsden (Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams) published an orbit on 2002 May 22. It used 47 positions from the period of May 9 to 21 and provided the perihelion date as 2002 July 28.34 and the period as 6.64 years. Marsden revised his calculations on June 3, using 66 positions from the period of May 9 to June 3. The result was a perihelion date of July 27.59 and a period of 6.51 years. Following the comet's recovery in 2009, an orbit using positions from the 2002 and 2009 apparitions revealed a perihelion date of July 27.59 and a period of 6.50 years.
  • The comet was last detected on 2002 September 1, at Tenagra Observatory, Cottage Grove, Oregon.
  • Apparition of 2009: This comet was recovered by Leonid Elenin (Tzec Maun observatory, Mayhill, New Mexico, USA) on 2009 June 1.40. He was using a 36-cm reflector and CCD camera. Elenin described the comet as a diffuse object of about magnitude 20.2, with a short tail. On June 3, Michael Schwartz (Tenagra Observatory) obtained images of the comet using the 81-cm Ritchey-Chretien reflector and a CCD camera. The images revealed a magnitude of 20.3-20.6, as well as a tail extending about 35" in PA 248 degrees.
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