Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy discovered on Nov. 27.7 his third comet, designated C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy). On our previous post about this comet you can see our follow-up image and animation.
NASAs Deep Impact spacecraft completed a 140-second firing of its onboard rocket motors on Thursday, Nov. 24. The rocket burn was performed to keep the venerable comet hunters options open for yet another exploration of a solar system small body.
Cbet nr.2930, issued on 2011, December 02, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude 13) by Terry Lovejoy on three CCD images obtained each on Nov. 27.7 and 29.7 UT with a Celestron 8 0.20-m f/2.1 Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector (+ QHY9 camera). The new comet has been designated C/2011 W3 (LOVEJOY).
Cbet nr.2922, issued on 2011, November 29, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude 17.9) by Claudine Rinner on CCD images obtained on November 28, 2011 taken with a 0.5-m f/3 reflector located at the Oukaimeden Observatory near Marrakech, Morocco. The new comet has been designated P/2011 W2 (RINNER).
Cbet 2923, issued on 2011, November 30, reports that an apparently asteroidal object reported by the Spacewatch survey and designated 2010 UH55 by the Minor Planet Center last year, has been found to show cometary activity. The new designation is P/2010 UH55 (SPACEWATCH).
On October 19.5, 2011 we started an observing session to recover the periodic comet 171P/Spahr. T. B. Spahr (then at University of Arizona, Arizona, USA - now Director, Minor Planet Center) discovered this comet with the 0.41-m f/3 Schmidt telescope in the course of the Catalina Sky Survey on 1998 November 16.39.
Cbet nr.2875, issued on 2011, October 26, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude 19.4) by Terry H. Bressi on CCD images obtained on September 24, 2011 with the Spacewatch 0.9-m f/3 reflector at Kitt Peak. The new comet has been designated C/2011 U2 (BRESSI).
Latest indications are this relatively small comet has broken into even smaller, even less significant, chunks of dust and ice. This trail of piffling particles will remain on the same path as the original comet, completing its unexceptional swing through the inner solar system this fall.
The big problem imaging the debris of C/2010 X1 (Elenin), is the low S/N of the little cloud it left away. If you want to integrate enough, in order to increase the S/N of yours images, then you face the problem of the trailed stars that are crossing the field, producing an annoying interference with the faint cometary cloud.
NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope has detected signs of icy bodies raining down in an alien solar system. The downpour resembles our own solar system several billion years ago during a period known as the Late Heavy Bombardment, which may have brought water and other life-forming ingredients to Earth.