During the month of May 2016, 2 new comets were discovered and cometary activity was detected for 1 previously discovered object (earlier designated as an asteroid).
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope imaged comet 252P/LINEAR just after it swept by Earth on March 21, 2016 while the Subaru Telescope serendipitously captured high-resolution images of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Moreover a non-gravitational acceleration has been detected influencing the motion of minor planet (85990) (see below for more about these news). "Current comet magnitudes" & "Daily updated asteroid flybys" pages are available at the top of this blog (or just click on the underline text here).
The dates below refer to the date of issuance of CBET (Central Bureau Electronic Telegram) which reported the official news & designations.
- Comet Discoveries
May 09 Discovery of P/2016 J1 (PANSTARRS)*
May 09 Discovery of C/2016 J2 (DENNEAU)
* According to the discovery CBET, follow-up images obtained at the 3.6-m Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope atop Mauna Kea on May 6.43 showed a second comet in the field. "The two components are moving at nearly identical rates in nearly identical directions (both about 0".6/minute in p.a. about 314 deg). The brighter component (designated component A) displays a clear and quite thin tail about 10" long in p.a. 250 deg in the May 6.43 images. The fainter object (designated component B) also displays a clear but broader tail of similar length, oriented toward p.a. about 210 deg". The available astrometry for both components and ephemerides appear on MPEC 2016-J90
- Cometary activity detected
May 29 Cometary activity detected in 2016 KA = C/2016 KA (CATALINA)
|Credit: P. Birtwhistle|
- Other news
May 12 Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured images of comet 252P/LINEAR just after it swept by Earth on March 21.
|Credit: NASA, ESA, and J.-Y. Li (Planetary Science Institute)|
May 12 Hyper Suprime-Cam on the Subaru Telescope serendipitously captured high-resolution images of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko during the inaugural queue-mode observations last March. The camera was scheduled to observe a distant compact galaxy when the chance came up to capture a view of the comet, and the images reveal fine details in the comet's coma and tails.
|Credit: Subaru Telescope, NAOJ|
May 25 Animation of the yearly discovery rate of #NEOs by size (H). Data from @MinorPlanetCtr via @JLGalache
May 27 CBET 4279 reports that a non-gravitational acceleration has been detected influencing the motion of minor planet (85990)
And finally a cartoon by the illustrator and cartoonist Tom Gauld + a Chelyabinsk event mention in "Zero K", the new novel by Don DeLillo (h/t to Paolo Simonetti)
|Credit: Tom Gauld|
|Credit: Don DeLillo|
|Credit: Don DeLillo|
by Ernesto Guido