New Comet C/2021 K2 (MASTER)

June 15, 2021

CBET 4975 & MPEC 2021-L89, issued on 2021, June 09, announce the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~19.0) on CCD images taken on May 23.0 UT with the "Mobile Astronomical System of the Telescope-Robots" (MASTER) auto-detection system (double 0.40-m f/2.5 reflector) at the South African Astronomical Observatory. The object was reported by MASTER as a new NEO candidate and has been found to show cometary activity by CCD astrometrists elsewhere. The new comet has been designated C/2021 K2 (MASTER).

Our confirmation images (click on the images for a bigger version; made with TYCHO software by D. Parrott)

Stacking of 35 unfiltered exposures, 120 seconds each, obtained remotely on 2021, June 02.4 from X02 (Telescope Live, Chile) through a 0.61-m f/6.5 astrograph + CCD, shows that this object is a comet with a compact coma about 15" arcsecond in diameter elongated toward PA 180 (Observers E. Guido, M. Rocchetto, E. Bryssinck, M. Fulle, G. Milani, C. Nassef, G. Savini, A. Valvasori).

MPEC 2021-L89  , assigns the following orbital elements to comet C/2021 K2 (MASTER): T 2021 Aug. 30.43; e= 0.98; Peri. =  342.26; q = 5.47 ;  Incl.= 100.67

by Ernesto Guido