Comet discoverers & Comet discoveries by amateurs

1978 - 2017

Last update:  18. March 2017

This page was initially created by Juan José González - José Fernández, written in Spain and can be found at

I also used information from the website of Maik Meyer

Giuseppe Pappa ( added information to the early discoverystories.

I used an automatic translation into English and tried to correct it into readable English. Please notice that English is not my native language.

Fell free sending me corrections of any kind.

The automated professional programs LINEAR, NEAT (discontinued), CSS, LONEOS (discontinued), Spacewatch (North Hemisphere) and Siding Spring (South Hemisphere, discontinued), are responsible for the the majority of comet findings in recent years, besides the carried out ones found on the images of the SOHO spacecraft.

But there are still opportunities for amateur astronomers to find comets, searching visual or with the help of digital cameras (CCD or DSLR).

Comets discovered by Don Machholz:


In 1990, with a total of 10 discoveries,  3 were discovered by amateurs:

In 1991, with a total of 22 discoveries,  6 were discovered by amateurs:

In 1992, with a total of 13 discoveries,  7 were discovered by amateurs:

In 1993, with a total of 10 discoveries,  1 were discovered by amateurs:

In 1994, with a total of 11 discoveries,  6 were discovered by amateurs:

In 1995, with a total of 6 discoveries,  4 were discovered by amateurs:

In 1996, with a total of 44 discoveries,  4 were discovered by amateurs:







Of 193 discovered comets in 2003, only one was made by an amateur astronomer, Vello Tabur: C/2003 T3.

In 2004, with a total of 222 discoveries, 3 were discovered by amateurs:

Unfortunately, 2004 was also the year of the death of Fred Whipple, a great researcher in cometary science, and discoverer of 6 comets.

In 2005, with a total of 221 discoveries,  2 were discovered by amateurs:

In 2006, with a total of 204 discoveries, 2 were discovered by amateurs: 

In 2007, with a total of 223 discoveries, 3new comets were found by amateurs:

In 2008, with a total of 219 discoveries, 5 amateurs were able to find new comets:

In 2009, with a total of 227 discoveries, 5 comets were found by amateurs:

2009 has been the year of the death of two outstanding members of the cometary community, Eleanor Helin, great pioneer of the PCAS and NEAT programs, and Charles Juels, prolific asteroid discoverer. Also, it is sad to notify the loss of comet discoverer  Mauro Vittorio Zanotta, in an unfortunate alpine accident.

In 2010, with a total of 157 discoveries, 6 comets were found by amateurs:

It was also the year were the cometary community lost Brian Geoffrey Marsden.

In 2011, with a total of 48 discoveries, 5 comets were found by amateurs:

In 2011, the discoverer of 4 periodic comets, Tom Gehrels passed away.


In 2012 62 new comets were discovered, 8 comets were found by amateurs.


In 2013 65 new comets were discovered. It was a great year for amateurs. 14 new comets were found by amateurs, all with CCD or DSLR cameras.

In 2013, the discoverer of 2 comets, Albert Jones passed away.


In 2014 65 new comets were discovered.
In 2014, the discoverer of 18 comets, William A. Bradfield passed away.
The discoverer of 2 comets, Friedrich Wilhelm Gerber passed away.


In 2015 70 new comets were discovered.


In 2016 only 36 new comets were discovered.

On June 26th. the world lost the discoverer of 4 comets Rolf G. Meier.
The discoverer of 67P/Tschurjumow-Gerassimenko Klim Ivanovich Churyumov passed away on Oct. 15th.
The discoverer of comet C/1980 Y2 Roy Panther died in the week of October 17th to 23rd. at the age of 90.


Edgar Wilson Award


Fred Whipple (1906 - 2004)

(Image: Harvard-Smithsonian for Center Astrophysics.)

Born in Network Oak (Iowa, the USA), he directed the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory between 1955 and 1973. He was an outstanding figure of Astronomy in the 20th. century, that mainly will be remembered by its dedication to the investigation on comets. The model of the “dirty snow ball proposed in 1950” (“dirty snowball”, or more correctly “icy conglomerate”) for the cometary nuclei.

  He was the discoverer (or codiscoverer) of 6 comets between 1932 and 1942, among them 36P/Whipple, of period 8,5 years, and it's recent return happened in 2003.

Kazimieras Cernis - Tsuruhiko Kiuchi - Yuji Nakamura C/1990 E1

IAUC 4980 announced a new comet discovery on March 14 by Kazimieras Cernis from Vilnius,Lithuania with his 120 mm f/5 refractor (magnification X35, FOV 2 deg) observing near Vilnius, Lithuania (more exactly, in Lavariskes, 25 km to east from Vilnius).

Two days later independent discoveries where made visually by two Japanese amateurs, Tsuruhiko Kiuchi with a 25x150 binocular and Yuji Nakamura with a 20x120 binocular. The comet was also confirmed by Alan Hale(USA). At the moment of the discovery the comet appeared like a diffuse object of 9th mag and 2’ diameter. The comet reached a peak of 8 mag. during that apparition.

Comment from Kazimieras Cernis:

I used 631 hours of visual searching (during 358 nights, from discovery of comet C/1983 O1)

Copyright Jim Pryal 1990-Mar-28

Kazimieras Cernis (b.1958) the discovery of C/1990E1 was the 3rd. for him after the discoveries of C/1980 O1 and C/1983 O1.

David H. Levy C/1990 K1

Another comet discovery for David H. Levy was announced on IAUC 5017 on 1990 May 20 during his comet hunting with his 0,41m f/5 reflector. Alan Hale (Las Cruces, USA) with his 0,4m reflector and Charles Morris (Pine Mountain Club, USA) with his 0,26m reflector confirmed the discovery the day after. At the moment of the discovery the comet was estimate of 9-10 mag, well condensed and a coma of 1-2’. The comet reached a peak of 4th. mag in late summer.

Copyright Wendee Levy

 Copyright Michael Jäger 25-08-1990

Tsuchiya-Kiuchi C/1990 N1

IAUC 5052 announced a new comet discovery on July 13, 1990N1, by Kiyoshi Tsuchiya (Asahikawa, Hokkaido) with a f/4 camera + T-Max film and Tsuruhiko Kiuchi (Usuda, Nagano) with a 25x150 binoculars. The comet appeared of 8/9 mag at the moment of the discovery.

Coypright Gerald Rhemann 23-10-1990

Tsuruhiko Kiuchi (b.1954)  is a comet-researcher from Usuda-machi, Minamisaku-gun, Nagano Prefecture. This discovery is the 2nd. for him here an interview of his typical day, an intensive day divide by work and comet hunting:
"Look more closely from farther away. That is my way of thinking." 
Kiuchi's daily regimen starts at 7 a.m. He has to be in his office at 7:30. He departs for his workshop between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. This workshop is like a child's secret club house, a sanctuary in which he can relax and enjoy the moment. Upon returning home, he bathes, finishes his evening meal, and then goes out to star-gaze. The normal routine for his observation runs from an hour and a half after sunset until an hour and a half before sunrise. He only takes breaks or is unable to make his observations during inclement weather, on days when he has to give lectures, and during the five-day cycle of the full moon. Aside from these restrictions, he performs his observations every day.

Howard Brewington 97P/Metcalf-Brewington

On Jan 7 Howard Brewington (Cloudcroft, USA) discovered is second comet, 1991A1, during his session of comet hunting with his 0,41m reflector (IAUC 5155). The comet was rapidly confirmed by Alan Hale with a 0,20m reflector. As reported on IAUC 5159 the comet was independently discovered also by Tsuruhiko Kiuchi (Usuda, Japan) with his 25x150 binocular and William Bradfield(near Adelaide, Australia). All observer estimated the comet around 9 mag.

B. G. Marsden, Center for Astrophysics, notes that preliminary orbital elements from the above observations strongly resemble those of P/Metcalf (1906 VI). Consequently the comet was numbered 97P/Metcalf-Brewington.

Howard Brewington with his personal observatory near Cloudcroft, New Mexico

He was born in 1952 in South Carolina. For years he visually sweeping the night sky with his home-built reflecting telescopes, his first comet was C/1989W1 discovered from South Carolina. To improve his chances of additional finds, he moved to southern New Mexico in the fall of 1990 and built a comet hunting observatory on a mountain ridge east of Cloudcroft.  From 1991 to 1996, the relocation issued four more visual discoveries (97P,C/1991Y1,154P, 1996N1). Brewington prophesied the end of visual comet discoveries and wrote about it in the Summer 1995 issue of CCD Astronomy magazine in an article titled "The Future of Comet Hunting”. Brewington stopped comet hunting in 1999, moved back to South Carolina, and enrolled at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. He graduated with honors in the summer of 2002 and was hired by year's end as a 2.5-meter telescope operator through the Astronomy Department of New Mexico State University. From 2002 to 2015, he worked at the Apache Point Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Brewington, now retired, lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  He is a member of the Astronomical Society of Las Cruces and often attends national star parties.

Masaru Arai C/1991 A2

IAUC 5157 announced a new comet discovery, C/1991A2, by Masaru Arai (Yorii, Japan) on Jan 5. From an image taken with a 0.16m reflector. The comet appeared diffuse with central condensation with a total magnitude around 12. The comet was confirmed by R. McNaught (Siding Spring, Australia).

Masaru Arai (b.1952) is a prolific discoverer of asteroids with a total of 45 discoveries in collaboration with Hiroshi Mori.

David H. Levy C/1991 L3

IAUC 5291 announced another comet discovery for David H. Levy (Tucson, USA) on June 14th with his 0,41m f/5 reflector. The comet showed a 3’ coma and a 8th. magnitude. This object turned to be a periodic comet and will return around 2042. As suggested by Levy on his book, the comet is parent of the August pavonid meteor shower. According to Levy there is a possibility that it may be the same as the comet of 1499. In that year Chinese and Korean observers observed a comet pas from Hercules through Draco, and the Little an Big Dippers.

Copyright Michael Jäger 1991 June 23

Mauro Vittorio Zanotta - Howard J. Brewington C/1991 Y1

A new comet was discovered on Dec 23rd. by Italian amateur Mauro Vittorio Zanotta (Como, Italy) with his 0,15m reflector. The comet was also detected by Howard Brewington with his 0,41m telescope as reported on IAUC 5412. The comet was confirmed by David H. Levy, reporting a little object brighter than 10th. magnitude and moderately condensed, while independent discovery were made by T. Kojima on Dec 24th.

Copyright H. Mikuz 1991 Dec. 30.753UT

William Bradfield C/1992 B2

William Bradfield (Australia) discovered his 15th comet on January 31.74 as reported on IAUC 5442. The comet was found in the morning sky, on the borders of Scorpius, Lupus and Norma as it was brightening on its way to perihelion. Of 10 magnitude, it was diffuse and without condensation. Paul Camilleri of Cobram, Victoria, Australia found images of it on pre-discovery Kodak T-Max 400 plates taken with an 85 mm lens on Jan 30.7. Albert Jones observed the comet on 1992 February 13.7, making it 10.1 in his 0.32-m reflector. Cometary activity evidently decreased rapidly as the comet approached perihelion as it should have been around 7m at this time. Poor observations were made for this comet.

Zenichi Tanaka - Donald E. Machholz C/1992 F1

Don Machholz (Colfax, USA) reported the discovery of a probable 10 mag. comet to the CBAT on March 31st and the estimated daily motion indicated a possible identity with another object reported to the bureau on March 27th. This object had been discovered by Zenichi Tanaka (Yodoe, Japan) on March 24th, but an incorrect daily motion was given (IAUC 5487). The comet was also confirmed by Alan Hale on April 1st. At discovery it was moving north in the morning sky in Pegasus and passed through Andromeda in mid April on its way to perihelion on April 22nd.

Copyright H. Mikuz, 1992 Apr. 12.114UT

William Bradfield C/1992 J2

William Bradfield discovered his 16th comet, a 10 magnitude diffuse object without central condensation on May 3.81 as reported on IAUC 5514. The comet was in the morning sky, moving east in Cetus, and brightening towards perihelion on May 25th. Its solar elongation decreased and few observations of it were made. Only 10 astrometric positions were obtained, the last taken on June 4th.

Donald E. Machholz C/1992 N1

Donald  Machholz discovered his sixth comet, a diffuse 9 mag. object with condensation, using 27x120 binoculars on July 2.46 as reported on IAUC 5553. The comet was in the morning sky, moving SE on the Perseus/Auriga border and had been brightening on its way towards perihelion. The comet was possibly within discovery range for most of the previous month. No section observations were received as the solar elongation was poor and it faded after discovery.

Howard J. Brewington P/1992 Q1

Howard J. Brewington reports the discovery of his fourth comet with his 0,41m reflector on August 28th. The comet appeared very small, diffuse and around 10 magnitude. Brewington had spent 99 hours comet hunting before finding this comet. As reported on IAUC 5596 the comet was confirmed by A. Sugie and T. Kojima from Japan. The first published orbit came on September 1st., when B. G. Marsden calculated a parabolic orbit using 11 positions from August 28 to 31. The perihelion date was given as 1992 June 20.97. Marsden considered the orbit "somewhat uncertain." Following S. Nakano's (Sumoto, Japan) remark "that the comet is evidently of short period", Marsden calculated an elliptical orbit that was published on September 27th. Using 18 positions obtained during the period of August 28th to September 26th., he determined the perihelion date as June 4.05 and the period as 8.65 years. Syuichi Nakano published a new orbit, he took 82 positions obtained during the period spanning 1992 August 28th. to 1993 March 30th and applied perturbations by planets and minor planets, the result was that the comet passed perihelion on 1992 June 7.79. Nakano then integrated the motion forward and predicted the comet would next arrive at perihelion on 2003 February 18.84. This comet was recovered by Fernanda Artigue, Herbert Cucurullo, and Gonzalo Tancredi (Molinos Astronomical Observatory, Montevideo, Uruguay) on 2002 August 26.98; so the comet was numbered as 154P/Brewington.

Copyright Norbert Mrozek 1992 September 26


IAUC 5620 reported a new comet discovery on September 26th. by Tsuruhiko Kiuchi, with the suggestion that it might be P/Swift-Tuttle with perihelion time in mid-December. Kiuchi used a 25x150 binoculars and described the comet diffuse without condensation with a coma of 4'. Confirmation of the discovery by several observers in Canada, the U.S. and Japan leaves no doubt that this identification with the Perseid parent comet is correct. The identification in turn confirms the suggestion that Kegler's 1737 observations were indeed of P/Swift-Tuttle. Finally the comet was linked with 1737 II- 1862 III, so was recalled 109P/Swift-Tuttle.

Copyright Misunori Tsumura

Nobuo Oshita C/1992 W1

Nobuo Ohshita (Furukawa-machi, Japan) discovered an 11 mag. comet with 25x150B on November 24.85 and confirmed it with images taken with a telephoto lens on T-Max film on November 28.8 - 30.8 IAUC 5668 (Iauc 5668). The comet was moving NE in Virgo as it emerged from conjunction in the morning sky and faded after discovery. No visual observations of this comet were obtained.

Yoshio Kushida - Osamu Muramatsu P/1993 X1

IAUC 5903 announced a new comet discovery on December 8.7UT, 1993X1, by Yoshio Kushida and Osamu Muramatsu of Yatsugatake South Base Observatory, Japan, during a photographically session of comet hunter using a 0,25m reflector. At discovery the comet was moving east and was diffuse with a central condensation and a coma of about 1'-2' diameter and a magnitude of 16,5. Several Japanese astronomer (T. Kojima, T. Urata , A. Nakamura T. Kobayashi) confirmed the comet during the following days.

The comet was recovered on 2000 October 3.72, when T. Oribe (Saji Observatory) obtained CCD images with the 103-cm reflector, and sub sequentially was numbered 147P/Kushida-Muramatsu.

Yoshio Kushida (b.1957) is a seismologist and amateur astronomer. Is a prolific asteroid discoverer with a total of 56 and also discovered two periodic comets (144P,147P).
Osamu Muramatsu
(b.1949). He worked at the planetarium of Sibuya, he is also an amateur astronomer. He discovered the periodic comet 147P and 71 asteroid, more of them with Y. Kushida.

Copyright Misunori Tsumura

Yoshio Kushida C/1994 A1

Yoshio Kushida discovered his second comet on January 8.8UT with a 0.10-m f/4.0 patrol camera. The comet appeared with a strong central condensation with coma diameter about 1'-2'. The comet was estimate about 12/13 magnitude and was confirmed by several Japanese astronomer including T.Kojima, T. Urata and A. Nakamura. (IAUC 5918)
The comet's next perihelion date was 2001 June 27 and it was recovered by C. E. Delahodde and O. R. Hainaut (European Southern Observatory, La Silla) on 2000 July 25. After this the comet was numbered as 144P/Kushida.

Kesao Takamizawa - David H. Levy C/1994 G1

Kesao Takamizawa and David H. Levy report their discoveries of what appears to be the same comet observed between April 14-15. K. Takamizawa (Saku-cho, Japan). Estimated of 12.5 magniutde on his two 4-min photographic films, taken with a 0.10-m f/4.0 camera. The comet appeared diffu with central condensation and coma diameter about 1'. David H. Levy (Tucson, USA) observed the object visually with his 0,41m reflector. (IAUC 5974)

Copyright Norbert Mrozek 1994 May 13

Kesao Takamizawa - C/1994 J2

Kesao Takamizawa discovered his 4th and last comet on 1994 May 6.7 UT with a 0.10-m f/4.0 patrol camera. The comet appeared of 11 magnitude with a strong central condensation and coma diameter about 1'. (IAUC 5986)

Coyright H. Mikuz, 1994 May. 27.883 UT

Masamitsu Nakamura - Hideo Nishimura - Donald E. Machholz - C/1994 N1

IAUC 6013 announced a new comet discovered by three amateur astronomers:
Masamitsu Nakamura
(Hamamatsu, Shizuoka-Ken, Japan) and Hideo Nishimura (Kakegawa, Shizuoka-Ken, Japan) discovered the comet with a 25x150 binoculars independently on July 5.7UT. They estimated the object of 9 mag. and a coma of 2,5’(Nishimura) and 5’(Nakamura). Donald Machholz (Colfax, USA) discovered the comet on July 6.4UT with his 27x120, he estimated about 10.5 magnitude.

Copyright Norbert Mrozek 1994 August 4

Donald E. Machholz - P/1994 P1

Donald E. Machholz discovered another comet visually with a 0.25m reflector on August 13th. He estimated about 10 mag. with little condensation and a coma diameter of 3’-4’(IAUC 6053). The comet was confirmed by T. Kojima. Michael Jäger (Vienna, Austria) reported his discovery of a second comet just 48 arc minutes from comet Machholz 2 on August 28.04. He said it appeared to have the same motion as Machholz and estimated the magnitude as 11. This comet continued being observed during the days that followed. Fourth and fifth objects were found by Pravec on September 4.1 and confirmed elsewhere. Letter designations were assigned to the 5 comets on September 21. The primary comet was the most westward and was designated "A". Working eastward, "B" was the fourth comet found, "C" was the third comet, "D" was the second comet, and "E" was the fifth comet. Interestingly, Pravec reported that CCD images obtained on October 5.14 indicated "D" exhibited two condensations within its coma. The comet return again on 1999 with only fragment “A” and later was recovered the fragment “D”, so it was numbered as 141P.

Donald E. Machholz - C/1994 T1

Donald E. Machholz reported his 3rd. visual discovery of a comet in 1994! (IAUC 6091) The comet was discovered on October 8.5 UT with his 0,25m f/3.8 reflector. He estimated as a diffuse object of 11.5 mag with weak condensation.

Copyright Marcus Richert, Uwe Wohlrab

Alan Hale - Thomas Bopp - C/1995 O1

Independent reports of the visual discoveries of a new comet have been received from Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp (IAUC 6187). All observers note the comet (estimated around 10/11 mag) to be diffuse with some condensation and no tail, motion toward the west- northwest. Alan Hale (Cloudcroft, USA) found the comet with his 0.41-m reflector while Thomas Bopp (near Stanfield, USA) discovered the comet with a 0.44-m f/4.5 Dobsonian during a star party while observing M70. The comet turned to be one of the brightest of the century and was visible for a very long time between 1995-1998. The comet reached perihelion on 1997 April 1st. and studies revealed a nuclear of 60km!

Copyright Gerald Rhemann

William A. Bradfield - C/1995 Q1

William A. Bradfield of Dernancourt (Australia) discovered his seventeenth comet, a 6 mag. object with a tail over 1° long, on August 17.4 IAUC 6206. The comet was in Crater, two weeks from perihelion, and was well placed for some time prior to discovery.

Copyright: Michael Jäger

Yuji Hyakutake - C/1995 Y1

IAUC 6279 announced the discovery of a new comet by Yuji Hyakutake (Hayato, Aira-gun, Kagoshima-ken) on December 25, with a 25x150 binoculars. The comet appeared diffuse with coma diameter of 3'.5 and total mag of 10th. The comet was observed in twilight while further confirmations arrived by T. Kojima and Y. Kushida.

Yuji Hyakutake (July 7, 1950, Shimabara, Nagasaki – April 10, 2002, Kagoshima)

Edward W. Szczepanski - C/1996 B1

IAUC 6296 announced the discovery of a new comet, C/1996 B1, on January 27 by Edward W. Szczepanski (Houston,USA) with 0.10-m refractor and 300-mm camera lens after 50-min exposures. The comet appeared diffuse of 10.5 mag.

Information about discovery story were written by D.H Levy on Sky and Telescope, May 1998:

“…E. Szczepanski is a Lawyer, specializing in maritime law. He also a complished astrophotographer and telescope maker. One day in January 1996 he was perusing old astronomy magazines during his lunch break when an article I wrote on comet hunting caught his attention. As he red he wondered what it would be like to discoverer a comet. That evening Szczepanski drove out to the Houston Astronomical Societys observory site near Columbus for a solitary astrophotography session. He set up is 4-inch Takahashi refractor and, with Kodak Technical Pan 2415 film, began imaging deep-sky object. M101, the huge spiral galaxy north of Bug Dipper’s handle, was the last one on his list. When he developed his film the following day, he was surprised to see the trailed image of a 10th magnitude fuzzy object ½° south of M101. He immediately reported it to the IAU0s Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams…”

Yuji Hyakutake - C/1996 B2

Only one month later Y.Hyakutake discovered another and most popular C/1996 B2. The comet was announced on  IAUC 6299. The comet was discovered on 30.8 January 1996 with his 25x150 Binoculars. The comet appeared diffuse and of 2.5’ diameter and 11th mag. In the next months the comet became a “great comet” approaching Earth on March 25th with a total magnitude of 0th and a tail of 80°!!

Copyright: Michael Jager, Erich Kolmhofer, Herbert Raab. 25-03-1996

Howard J. Brewington - C/1996 N1

IAUC 6428 announced a new comet discovered, by amateur Howard J. Brewington from Cloudcroft(USA). The comet was discovered on July 4th visually with a 20cm reflector and was later confirmed by G.Garradd.

Copyright David Hanon

Vello Tabur - C/1996 Q1

IAUC 6455 announced the discovery of a new comet,C/1996Q1, on August 19 by Vello Tabur (Wanniassa,AUS). The comet was discovered with 20cm reflector and appeared of 11th magnitude and 3’ diameter.

Copyright Stefan Beck

Justin Tilbrook - C/1997 O1

Justin Tilbrook from Clare, South Australia, reported a visual discovery of a comet on July 22.43UT with a 20cm reflector. Justin is a variable star observer and he discovered the comet while was observing TV Corvi when he saw a 10th mag “blob” of 70” in diameter. Several minutes later he saw that the object had moved. One day later Gordon Garradd (from Loomberah) confirmed the comet using a 25cm reflector+ CCD, the images showed a little fuzzy of 2’ without tail. IAU Circular 6705 announced the discovery on July 23 while a preliminary orbit announced in IAUC 6707 showed the comet was close to perihelion at about 1.4AU from the Sun and a similar distance from the Earth. If the comet had been 3 months earlier, it would have been visible in 7x50 binoculars from the Earth. Copyright

Picture of C/1997O1 taken by Justin, using a 35mm camera with a 200mm zoom lens and 400ASA Fujicolor print film; on the evening of 1997 July 26 (10:45 UT). The camera was hand-guided for an exposure lasting 10 minutes, to capture this faint image of Comet Tilbrook.

Comet Tilbrook image taken by Akimasa Nakamura on 1997 July 24.47UT with a 60cm Reflector f6.

Michel Meunier - Philippe Dupouy - C/1997 J2

IAUC 6648 announced the discovery of a new comet C/1997 J2 on May 7th. by Michel Meunier (Arbonne la Foret). 0.20-m f/6 reflector + CCD, only some 6' southwest of comet C/1997 J1, perhaps 0.5 mag brighter than C/1997 J1 but having a much slower motion. Additional observations, apparently an independent discovery, have also been reported by
Philippe Dupouy and J. F. Lahitte. (Observatoire de Dax). 0.20-m reflector + CCD.

Discovery story:

The story of the discovery told by Philippe DUPOUY

Like most audiens (members of the mailing-list Aude) after the day's work, consultation of the electronic mailbox Aude server to read the latest astronomical news and there, message from Alain Maury announcing the latest comet discovered by Jean Mueller C/1997J1, without specifying celestial coordonates. As I did all the asteroids audiens every fine-weather days for several weeks, I tell myself that to change, I will make additions to positions on a comet and bring my modest contribution. I send a personal message to Alain, to obtain the ephemeris from 1997J1 which I received on the evening of May 7, 1997.
A reading of the declination, I "tick" a little. The camera "Hi-SIS22" behind the LX200 allows me only 60 degrees (for stories of adapter rings) and the sky is over not terrible, alternation of sunny and cloudy. It is 9:30 p.m. local, the comet is almost at Meridian ... I have to do an article for a future 'CCD et Télescope' .. .. an electronic circuit to finish .... To Be or Not To Be ..?
I decided to observe, "tomorrow's Holiday," "I'll can sleep", "prose will wait".
 Here we go in mechanics (another of my hobbies!), removing the camera, replacing the ring too long (1O mm to win!). After fruitless searches for replacement, I delete the adapter 42/75 to 42/100 and I dare screw directly the 42/100 of the camera into the telescope's 42/75 . A portion of the net enough to maintain! 8.5mm won, whew! Delta orientation: 71deg.

Raaaaahh! the two screws from the "homemade" shutter go beyond and the brake lever alpha stumbles on camera's parallel plug. Never mind, I Demount all, the hailstones rattling on the dome. After removal and leveling of embarrassing bodies, re-assemblage, camera finally passes into the fork. Delta orientation: 74° 30 while comet's delta on May 8 at 0h UT is 73°56.3.
The sky was again clear; so I open the dome and I go fast in the air conditioned room where I can do everything remotely over LAN (That's the object of the CCD and Telescope article). Timing clocks, focus, pointing, it is 11:28 p.m. UT when the 1 st image from 1997J1 appears.
Quick glance at the screen at right which shows the field of standard-POSS RealSky "pile-poil", let's go for 7 exposures of 30 s in binning 2x2.
 Small-break snacks, storage, monitoring of clouds outside and on another screen on the left Meteosat live.
0h 15 UT: recovery of a 2 nd round, the field is still there, but J1 moved down from the image, I recenter a bit and I see a 2nd spot a little brighter at the bottom in border field ... Surely a small galaxy. 7 exposures of 30s.
"It's still strange, this vague spot ... Almost the same place, RealSky shows a small star, certainly a distant galaxy. I change the thresholds of visualization, the star is punctual! So .. it's not a galaxy, then a comet? Failover patch / windows and I consult Megastar. Nothing. Well, we'll see if it moves on the 3 rd round thing.

 1h 02 UT: 3rd series, like it has moved a few seconds, it's a comet! "It must be known," "Megastar is the demo version, retrieved from the web, I don't have all the comets", "plus the Palomar raking in the corner "....

1h 19 UT: 4th series, 1997J1 which continues its fast race is almost as close as the unknown. At this time, I tell myself it is great to have 2 comets in a field of CCD, the animation will be beautiful.

 1h 49 UT: 5th round, they are still there both, 1997J1 begins to recede. Immediately after, the clouds came, I took the opportunity to make the "black", the flats will be made from pictures of the night.
It's from this moment that I've started to "gamberger". I didn't dare to send immediatelly an email to B. Marsden.
Jean-Francois Lahitte will treat the images in the afternoon, we will send all together, not to seem ridiculous, you never know. "I didn't manage to go out of the observatory, I moved on channel2 Meteosat, to see the cloud cover elsewhere throughout Japan under the clouds, the U.S. too, except California and Florida, Quebec was covered.
 Would it a hope? But hey, do not dream, now sleep, he began to emerge ...

 15h local this May 8: back to the observatory, J-Fr Lahitte was currently processing images of asteroids still in stock. After treatment and reduction of cometary positions with QMIPS32 I was "pumped up" I finally decide to send the mail to the IAU. It was 17:15.

 I can not tell too torment at that time. After that, the waiting for a response from Marsden, finding phone numbers of members Aude for an observation at night.
Around 19:30 in the mail consultant, I received like everybody the message "SUPER IMPORTANT" from Michel Meunier.
I called him (after Minitel research) and gave him confirmation of our common observation.
Then we discovered the anxiety and it lasts. At nightfall, we could remake the unknown, and Morata warned.
The first message from Marsden came on May 9 at 3:45, thanking us for our measures from the 8 and those we have just sent. Following the episode is told by Alain Maury.

I want to thank with a warmth inversely proportional to the coldness of the comet, Alain Maury who has delegated to me a discovery that could have done himself, Christian Buil for his selflessness in sharing his passion through the wonderful tools such as CCD cameras and processing software that never ceases to evolve and Jean-François Lahitte that help me effectively for treatment. Lively first amateur CCD comet, and lively AUDE.

 Philippe Dupouy

Syogo Utsunomiya - C/1997 T1
IAUC 6751 announced the visual discovery of a new comet C/1997 T1 on Oct. 3rd. by Syogo Utsunomiya, (Azamihara, Minami-Oguni cho, Aso-gun, Kumamoto-ken) with 25x150 binoculars. Coma diameter 2'. This was is first discovery.

Patrick Stonehouse - C/1998 H1
IAUC 6883 announced the visual discovery of a new comet C/1998 H1 on April 22nd. by Patrick Stonehouse (Wolverine, MI, USA) using a 0.44m reflector.

Peter Williams - C/1998 P1
IAUC 6986 announced the visual discovery of a new comet C/1998 P1 on Aug. 10th. by Peter Williams (near Heathcote, Sydney) using a 0.30m f/6 reflector while observing variable stars.

Discovery story:

Most people like to complain about the weather and, well, I guess I'm just like the rest. August is usually associated with strong winds but this year they were accompanied by driving rains which produced flooding in many areas of eastern New South Wales.

My backyard observatory at Heathcote, on the southern extremity of suburban Sydney, was partially flooded with 3cm of water when a nearby drain became blocked by garden debris. Nearly 170mm of rain was recorded at Heathcote during the first 9 days of August and I was beginning to suffer the 'DTs' from a lack of starlight.

Perhaps better known for the observation of variable stars, I have been fortunate enough to also observe a number of comets over the years beginning with Comet Bennett, the Great Comet of 1970, and sending the occasional total magnitude estimate to David Seargent of the Australian Comet Section during this time.

Monday, August 10 was the first clear night of the month so, although feeling tired after arriving home from work a little later than usual, I ventured outdoors after dinner with binoculars in hand to catch up on some of the brighter variable stars on my regular working list.

A normal night's observing at Heathcote involves preparation under subdued lighting, a naked eye nova search along the Milky Way followed by a search to near magnitude 8 in two selected areas with the 10x50mm binoculars. This is followed by the binocular variables before moving onto the telescopic stars. Each observing session can last between 30 minutes and several hours.

With the moon just two days after full there was a very narrow 'dark window' before moon rise. I had used this time for the binocular variables. After this I returned indoors to help with some domestic duties and getting the children off to bed. Domestic duties complete, I sat down with my wife, Linda, and feeling rather tired thought I may retire early for the night.

However, having been clouded out for near two weeks I felt obliged to show the 'right stuff' and check on the telescopic variables. In hindsight, this proved a wise decision.

By 9.30pm local time and with the near full moon well above the horizon, the roll-off roof of my observatory parted as I prepared for observation with the 30cm F6 Newtonian reflector.

Working through my usual sequence of variable star fields, I commenced low in the south west with SY Mus and DI Cru, followed by 8 other irregular and unusual stars in the Cru-Mus-Cen region.

Then sweeping eastward at a low 72x magnification from Alpha Cir towards the faint dwarf nova EK TrA, I almost fell of the three step ladder used to reach the eyepiece as a bright comet-like object came into view.

'Oh gosh, what have we here?' or words to that effect I muttered, knowing only too well there should be no fuzzy blobs in that area of sky.

A full millisecond or two later I forgot completely about EK TrA as complete panic set in. Was it clear in New Zealand? Was it clear in Victoria? As I shuffled through my charts to find that for EK TrA, I pondered who else may be observing this field that evening. Having located the chart I proceeded to plot the object's position then wait and look for movement.

At the time of discovery the comet appeared large, round and diffuse with no tail and a 13th magnitude stellar central brightening. Through the 20x80mm binoculars it was estimated at magnitude 9.5 but of somewhat smaller diameter than through the telescope at only 4 arcmin across.

Within half an hour clear movement towards the north west was evident so I moved indoors at near relativistic speed to seek independent confirmation. After several frustratingly unanswered phone calls, I eventually raised David Seargent of the Australian Comet Section who was able to provide verification.

At this stage even Linda, who is generally content to view the moon once every second year, left the warmth and comfort of bed to become only the third person on Earth to view the comet.

David kindly emailed the co-ordinates and magnitude estimates to the International Astronomical Union's Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, USA. The CBAT replied the next day with a request for more information and additional positions to allow for establishing a preliminary ephemeris.

I had never realised how long the daylight hours are as I waited for nightfall!

Tuesday night was essentially cloudy at Heathcote except for several fortunate clear patches which allowed me to relocate the comet and establish an additional position. This was duly emailed to the CBAT.

Unknown to me, Gordon Garradd of Loomberah, near Tamworth, had learnt of the comet through David Seargent and was busy measuring the comet's position on CCD images obtained that night, providing the accurate details needed by the CBAT.

IAUC 6986 was issued on Wednesday 12th August 1998 announcing the discovery of Comet 1998 P1, much to the relief of all concerned.

Many emails and telephone calls from well wishers have since been received, topping off several days of intense excitement. My two minutes of fame have certainly been an experience I will long remember. The help, encouragement and co-operation of local identities such as David Seargent, Gordon Garradd and Rob McNaught played an important part in verifying this comet.

Looking back, however, this discovery was contributed to by a number of fortunate circumstances.

Firstly, the sky was clear and calm that evening after more than a week of strong winds and driving rain. Secondly, despite a near full moon the decision was made to observe through the telescope. Thirdly, had I delayed going outdoors a little longer I may not have observed the field of EK TrA. Finally, had I not been monitoring a non-program suspected variable a little to north of EK TrA, I may not have swept northward to low magnification and onto the comet.

Luck may have played its part. However, I like to believe - tongue in cheek - that I have been conducting a systematic search for comets, in variable star fields, while looking in the wrong direction and under full moon. Clearly, my methods have been vindicated!

Michael Jäger - P/1998 U3

IAUC 7038 announced the photographic discovery of a new comet P/1998 U3 on Oct. 23rd. by Michael Jäger on 16- and 9-min Technical Pan film exposures, using a 0.25m f/2.8 Schmidtcamera.


Copyright Michael Jäger

Justin Tilbrook - C/1999 A1

IAUC 7084 announced the visual discovery of a new comet C/1999 A1 on Jan. 12th. by Justin Tilbrook (Clare, South Australia) with 0.2-m f/6 reflector, 70x.
   Hourly motion 120" southward.  40"-50" coma, hint of nucleus, no tail. This is his second comet discovery.

Copyright Justin Tilbrook

Korado Korlevic - Mario Juric - C/1999 DN_3

IAUC 7167 announced the discovery of a new comet C/1999 DN_3on Feb. 18th. by Korado Korlevic and Mario Juric, using a  0,41m f/4.3 telescope and a CCD camera while doing routine asteroid search.

discovery image, Copyright Korlevic-Juric

left: Korado Korlevic, right: Mario Juric (Copyright unknown)

Steve Lee - C/1999 H1
IAUC 7144 announced the visual discovery of a new comet C/1999 H1 on April 16th by Steve Lee with a 0.41-m f/6 Newtonian reflector (about 75x) at a star party near Mudgee, New South Wales.

Discovery story:

Steve Lee, Copyright unknown

Daniel Lynn - C/1999 N2

IAUC 7222 announced the visual discovery of a new comet C/1999 N2 on July 13th. by Daniel W. Lynn, Kinglake West, Victoria, Australia with 10x50 binoculars and 0.20-m f/6   reflector (40x, 150x). Comet low in sky, moving northeastward at about 10'/hr.  Coma diameter 4'.2, fairly strong central brightening, but no discernible nuclear condensation and no tail.

Korado Korlevic - P/1999 WJ7

IAUC 7368 announced the discovery of a new comet P/1999 WJ7. An apparently asteroidal object discovered on Nov. 28th by Korado Korlevic at Visnjan with a 0.41-m f/4.3 reflector + CCD turned out to be a comet. It was discovered while doing routine asteroid search. 

Gary Hug - Graham E. Bell - C/1999 X1

IAUC 7331
announced the discovery of a new comet C/1999 X1 on Dec. 10th. by Gary Hug and Graham E. Bell, using a 12 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain and a CCD camera while doing routine asteroid search at the Farpoint Observatory.

Discovery story:

Comet Hug-Bell was discovered Thursday night from Farpoint Observatory in Eskridge, Kansas by Gary Hug and Graham Bell while they were doing routine asteroid search work using their automated telescope and CCD camera. Hug, 49 of Topeka and Bell, 64 of Maple Hill, Kan., are believed to be the first amateurs to discover a comet. "I've been looking for comets on and off for about 25 years," Hug says. "It was a terrific thrill." The International Astronomical Union, made the announcement over the weekend after staff members were able to make the confirmation.

Hug and Bell have calculated that it should be visible to Earth every seven years; as it makes it's orbit in around the Sun. "They did a great piece of work on it," said Brian Marsden of the Minor Planet Center, Harvard/Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. "It's really quite an accomplishment".

Members of the Northeast Kansas Amateur Astronomers League, Hug and Bell (affectionately known in the area as Frick & Frack) went to their club's observatory about 9 p.m. Thursday to perform observations in search for asteroids. The equipment used for the discovery include a 12" Schmidt-Cass and CCD imaging equipment. They first noticed the fuzzy spot at about 1 am on Friday. After increasing the exposure to 10 minutes, they noticed it had a fuzzy head and short cometary tail. They increased the exposure time to 20 long minutes, they were able to better confirm that the object showed a discernible tail at pa ~285.

While the normal approach is to use two telescopes for discovery and follow up work, that process was altered Friday morning, as one scope was shut down for Graham to perform the astrometry. Gary continued to image the new object and as soon as 5 good data points were derived, the submission was sent to the Minor Planet Center. A request was also sent to Catalina for comrade, Tim Spahr to image the object from their larger equipment. Unfortunately, Catalina was clouded out, but was fortunate enough to have imaged this sliver of sky earlier. Mr. Spahr then compared the current image with an earlier November 11, 1999 image which also contained that object.

Meanwhile, other experts, Carl Hergenrother and Lenka Sarounova both observed the object and concurred that it was, indeed a comet. Marsden then connected the object with sightings back to October 10 and December 7.

With such a significant work of astrometry and history, this object was declared a comet
(P/1999 X1 Hug-Bell) in less than 48 hours!

Syogo Utsunomiya - Albert Jones - C/2000 W1

IAUC 7526 announced the visual discovery of a new comet C/2000 W1 on Nov. 18th. by Syogo Utsunomiya (Aso, Kumamoto; 25x150 binoculars) moving very fast southeastward. Attempts by serveral visual observers failed. On Nov. 25th. Albert F. Jones, Stoke, Nelson, New Zealand (C/2000 W1)discovered a new comet. The calculated orbit showed that it was the same object as reported by Syogo Utsonomiya. This comet is the second discovery for both !

left: Albert Jones, right: Syogo Utsunomiya (Copyright unknown)

Vance Petriew - C/2001 Q2

IAUC 7686 announced the visual discovery of a new comet C/2001 Q2 12 C1 on August 18th. by Vance Petriew during a star party at Cyprus Hills, Saskatchewan. The discoverer reported a round coma of diameter 3' with a condensed nucleus and no tail with a 0.51-m f/5 reflector.

More details can be found on his discovery report or on his website.

William Kwong Yu Yeung - C/2002 BV

Copyright: William K. Y. Yeung

William Kwong Yu Yeung (Desert Eagle Observatory, Benson, Arizona, USA) discovered this "apparently asteroidal object" on 2002 January 21.49, using a charge-coupled-device (CCD) electronic-camera attached to his 45-cm reflector. The stellar image had a magnitude of 20.4. He obtained additional images on January 22 and 23. It received the preliminary designation of "2002 BV". During early April, Yeung noted that his new object was still listed as having astrometry from only three days, so despite the fact that it should have been brightening, no additional positions were obtained. He contacted T. Spahr (Whipple Observatory, Mt. Hopkins). Spahr found that positions were available from Lincoln Laboratory ETS (New Mexico, USA) for February, March, and April. These positions allowed him to identify additional asteroidal images that had been reported during 1998 (Steward Observatory, Kitt Peak, Arizona, USA) and 2000-2001 (Lincoln Laboratory ETS). The 2001 positions spanned nearly a month and the object received the preliminary minor planet designation "2001 CB40". Spahr noted the "unusual nature of the orbit" and, together with M. Calkins, he obtained unfiltered CCD observations on May 5, 6, and 7, using the 1.2-m reflector. The images revealed the object was larger that the nearby stars, while a faint tail extended 5 arc seconds in PA 315¡. The total magnitude was given as 17.  Source: Cometography

Kaoru Ikeya - Daqing Zhang - C/2002 C1

IAUC 7812 announced the independent visual discovery of a new comet C/2002 C1 on Feb. 1st,  by Kaoru Ikeya (Mori, Shuchi, Shizuoka, Japan; 0.25-m reflector and Daqing Zhang near Kaifeng, Henan province, China; 0.2-m reflector. The comet showed a coma with 2' and 9 mag. This comet got later the periodic number 153P because it is a long periodic comet that was seen in earlier days.

Left: Kaoru Ikeya, Right: Daqing Zhang

Douglas Snyder - Shigeki Murakami - C/2002 E2

Copyright Douglas Snyder

On March 11th, a new comet C/2002 E2 was discovered independently by Douglas Snyder ans Shigeki Murakami. Both used large Newtonian reflectors and discovered the new comet visually at 13.0 (Snyder) and 11 mag. (Murakami). The discovery was announced with IAUC 7850.

Discovery story from Doug Snyer:

In the early morning hours of Monday, March 11, 2002, I was observing our beautiful Arizona night sky in the constellation Aquila (The Eagle) rising in the east.  This is a constellation is which a good portion of the Summer Milky Way is visible.  It was not too long before sunrise, so I was just moving the telescope around and looking at some glorious collections of stars when I came across a faint patch of light that none of the current astronomy catalogs showed.  I watched this 'object' for awhile, and over a period of about 1/2 hour, I noticed that is was slowly moving to the north.  This was possibly an undiscovered comet!  Well, to make a long story short, I was in contact with the International Astronomical Union before too long and within the next day, they confirmed that this was a comet discovery!  I had found it none too soon, because just a few hours later, an amateur astronomer in Japan (Shigeki Murakami) also found it.  The name has officially become Comet Snyder-Murakami after the orbital elements were calculated by astronomers at the IAU . The comet also has the  designation of C/2002 E2.
This is such a rare and rewarding event, and I am still so overwhelmed at my luck in finding it.

Discovery story from Shigeki Murakami:

Website of Shigeki Murakami

 Syogo Utsunomiya - C/2002 F1

IAUC 7854 announced the visual discovery of a new comet, C/2002 F1 by Syogo Utsonomiya in morning twilight. The comet  showed a weak condensation, 1' coma and was 10.0 mag. The discoverer used a 25 x 150 binocular. The discovery was made on March 18th.

 Sebastian Hönig - C/2002 O4

Copyright Michael Jäger, taken on July 27th. 2002

Copyright Sebastian Hönig

IAUC 7939 
announced the discovery of a new comet, C/2002 O4. On July 22nd. Sebastian Hönig, Dossenheim, Germany discovered a new comet visually. 

Discovery story:

Discovery story: As accidental as it can be...

written in July 2002

This comet discovery was really amazing. I was systematically comet hunting for almost 5 years now but this discovery was as accidental as a comet can be found.

What to do when you can't sleep at night? Packing together your telescope and observing a bit. That's what I did Monday early morning. I drove to my favorite and well situated place in the Odenwald (altitude ~400m) where you have a terrible view to North and West but well skies to the East, South-East and South. The sky was very clear because clouds and rain have just passed by after a bad week with rain and flooded streets in Heidelberg. I was not prepared for any serious observations, I just wanted to have a look into the clear sky. After having mounted my MEADE 10'' Schmidt-Cassegrain-Telescope I started to initiate my goto-System. That works with correct geo-position, precise local time, flat alignment and one reference star. The alignment was not very well that night and the battery of the clock included in the keypad was off. Therefore I had to estimate time from Radio. After initiation I usually start to let the goto-System search for a known bright object – this time of year M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. The scope slewed to it and I looked into the 26mm eyepiece behind my focal reducer (giving me f/6.3, that means 64x or about 1 degree filed of view). Oops, the mounting was not very good, M31 was off the left edge. I didn't care because I wouldn't need correct slewing this night, I thought. This all took me around half an hour.
It was 02:00h local time (00:00h UT) when I started to look in the skies: The moon low in the West behind a small hill not disturbing the observations. I saw Andromeda and Pegasus high in the sky and remembered the good-old deep-sky days and decided to have a look at the Globular Clusters around. They are still the same as I have in mind. I started to slew the telescope a bit to the north – by the way: my telescope was mounted azimuthal - and something to the east. The scope stopped west of Sirrah, a bit north of the line between this star and beta Pergasi. I looked in the scope and saw a faint and diffuse object. There are some galaxies in this area I knew but as far as I remembered they are beyond 13 mag. I also knew no comet in this area although not looking specifically before going on the observation session – as I already mentioned, it was very spontaneous. I got a bit suspended. Should it be? A new comet? But not in this position. It was almost antisolar direction, the playground for NEAT and LINEAR. Anyhow I wanted to get the position what is not so easy when you do not have any sky maps or even a piece of paper. I took the RA and DEC from my goto-System, well knowing that these are not very good due to the poor mounting, especially in RA direction. In my car I found an empty bottle of water with a small paper label and a ball pen. This must be enough for a rough drawing of the brightest stars in my finder scope and the position of the comet.
I decided to waited 20 minutes without looking in the telescope to detect a possible motion. 20 minutes are long when you cannot do anything. I didn't want to move the scope because of the possibility to lose the object. The only thing I did was checking that the field of view shifts too much. After 20 minutes I saw the object had moved a bit. I took another eyepiece and removed the focal reducer to get a smaller FOV. How to describe a motion without having sykplots? As I am used to comet observations I decided to do the same like I sometimes estimate coma diameter: estimating the part of the FOV covered by the comets or here how what part it swept through. What I found was amazing: around 1' of motion in DEC direction and perhaps only a very small shift in RA. I repeated this estimation and thought the comet to be around 12mag with 2' coma diameter.
This should be enough data. I unmounted the telescope and packed it into my car. On my way home I had some silly doubts whether it was real, already known, etc. Al this made me very tired and I decided to have some sleep.
I woke up around 11a.m., had breakfast, did some necessary shopping and went back home to work on my last night's observation. First I determined the position of the object and put the data into the MPChecker. I thought the positions to be uncertain by 1 or perhaps 2 degree in RA and around 1 degree in DEC. Therefore I decided to set the MPChecking range to 5 degrees. Result: No known comet. Suddenly I felt adrenaline ejected by my body and my hands started to tremble. I had similar feelings when discovering my first SOHO comets but this time it was 100 times more intense. I checked for galaxies in the field but as I already knew they are too faint – and do not move at all! I redetermined the position and repeated the procedure. Finally I called my girlfriend and told her I think I have found something. She is not very used to astronomy yet but she was very surprised and urged me to send it to announce it. I hung in and wrote the email to the CBAT.

Dear CBAT Team,

I would like to report the following possible discovery of an unknown object found during my observations last night near Heidelberg, Germany:

Approximate Position: RA 23h 25' DEC 32° 40' at ~ 00:05:00 UT on Jul 22, 2002
Magnitude: ~ 12 mag
Object's appearance: cometary, about 2' coma diameter

The object showed a clear movement in DEC + direction (~1' in 20 minutes)

Obtained checks for known objects: optical reflexions, galaxies/nebulae down to 13 mag, MPChecker down to 15 mag, NEO Confirmation Page.

Telescope: 0.25-m Schmidt-Cassegrain, F=1760m, f/6.3 (focal reducer)

NOTE: The positions are probably not very good because I didn't have any material (skymaps, ...) with me. It was just a spontaneous observations session. I tried to figure the positions out of my goto-system with a poor draw of the sky around but the position might be off by 1 or perhaps even 2 degree.

I try to make a follow-up observation this night but I guess the clouds here will disturb this try.

Sebastian Hoenig

It was around 5p.m. and I called Maik Meyer at work to tell him what I have observed. He was quite surprised and I should tell him whatever happens.
Now the longest day begun. I knew that it would take some time but I didn't receive any message till the next day - Tuesday. I then decided to ask what the CBAT did with my observation. I also wrote emails to Alan Hale and Akimasa Nakamura to request confirmation. Alan soon responded and said he will use the clear sky he expected for the upcoming night to have a look at it. The only problem would be the strong moonlight that day and the uncertain position. I extrapolated new positions for the next night and sent it to him. When the evening came I tried to find the comet again but moon, clouds and haze disturbed my try.
On Wednesday morning I wrote to Carl Hergenrother who was the responsible person at CBAT these days that I could make a follow-up observation. He told me that he requested different observers for follow-ups but no one had contacted him so far. Alan Hale then wrote that he also could not find anything but that needn't to be a final statement due to the bad conditions. Akimasa Nakamura contacted me and told me that he has bad weather but forwarded my request to Ken-ichi Kadota. He was not very optimistic because moon would disturb and CCD covers a very small field of view.
Thursday was another waiting day for answers from Japan. I felt like the object would probably be lost. However Carl Hergenrother said I should not give up hope. Maybe it will be found by someone else and I would keep my credit as first discoverer.
On Friday I was looking forward to an Inline competition that should last 3 days: Friday 10km, Saturday 42km and Sunday 19.5km. Friday morning Maik called and asked what has happened so far. I told him of the negative replies and he suggested to contact Michael Jäger in Austria. Michael is the wold's most famous comet photographer and discoverer of comet C/1998 U3 (Jäger). I met him at the IWCA II in Cambridge, England in 1999. Maik told me his email addresses and I sent the request to him with new positions extrapolated from a 5 day old position and an estimated movement – not very convincing I think. I packed my bag and drove to the competition where I stayed over night.
On Saturday I skated the Marathon in new personal best time. I forgot all the things around the comet and drove to my father's home to sleep there. We had just finished dinner when my mobile phone rang. It was Maik, very suspending. "Your object is on the NEO Confirmation Page!" Oh my god, I thought and dialed in. I saw the object called "UnkHon", Unknown Hoenig, yes, that's mine. Somebody must have found it. I told my father but I think he didn't realize at this moment what has happened. Maik called again and told me that he wrote a request for confirmation of the NEOCP object to the Minor Planet Mailing List and many observers told him to have a look atf it. Only minutes later he called suspended and I think somewhat shocked: "You have a confirmation!" He got the image which was taken on 611 (Heppenheim), only 20 minutes away from my hometown Dossenheim. Again I thought "Oh my god!". Maik told me what this means: the first visual comet discovery from German ground since 1946. I never thought this faint and diffuse object would have historic dimensions...
I tried to call Michael Jäger but his wife told me that he is already away and has forgotten his mobile phone. I told her that it would not be necessary to search for the comet as I have receiver confirmation. Half an hour later Michael called me, also very suspended and happy: "Sebastian, I have found your object on 5 images!" I informed him what was going on. He was so lucky and promised to send me one of his photographs. Later Carl Hergenrother wrote that Ken-ichi Kadato was the one who recovered the comet.
I had only around two hours sleep and was so tired on Sunday. I got up at 7a.m. and saw the IAUC announcing my comet discovery. After seeing this my father recognized what this means. He vanished for some minutes and came back with a large bottle of champagne and some glasses for my discovery celebrations.
Finally I decided not to drive back to the last competition day due to the lack of sleep and some kind of poor motivation. Can image why? :)

I want to send my special thanks to some people who supported me in a special way to do this discovery (NO specific order!):
Carl Hergenrother for his kind replies on all of my emails
Alan Hale for his quick response and his try to observe the comet
Akimasa Nakamura and especially Ken-ichi Kadota who managed to recover the comet
Maik Meyer for his help and fast information on the development
Michael Jäger for his quick and successful attempt to image the new comet

And finally to my parents and my Grandmother for their everlasting support throughout the last years.

Kudo-Fujikawa - C/2002 X5

IAUC 8032 announced the discovery of a new comet, C/2002 X5. It was found visually by Tetuo Kudo with 20x120 binoculars at 9.5 mag. and a independent discovery by Shigehisa Fujikawa was reported with IAUC 8033.

Vello Tabur - C/2003 T3

[Images: Vello Tabur , by Reinder Bouma (2003); C/2003 T3 near the galaxy NGC 6848, image CCD of V. Tabur, on October 18th. 2003, a few days after the discovery of the comet]

C/2003 T3 has been the third comet discovery by another Australian observer, Vello Tabur. The comet was found on CCD images taken on October 14th., at 11. magnitude. It  reached maximum magnitude (approximately 9.5) in the days near the perihelion, April 28th, q= 1,48 AU of the Sun.


William Bradfield - C/2004 F4

[Images: William Bradfield, by Reinder Bouma (2003); C/2004 F4 in its perihelion on April 17th 2004, SOHO (THAT & NASA (2004)].

William Bradfield discovered C/2004 F4, his 18th comet visually, on 23rd of March 2004, shortly before perihelion (April 17th.), at 0,17 AU. The proximity to the Sun allowed to observe spectacular images of the passage thanks to coronograph LASCO - C3 on the SOHO satellite. For the ground observers, it later reappeared some days in the matutinal twilight, as an object of 3rd magnitude, very condensed and with a long almost vertical tail, offering an unforgettable view. This one has been the third visual observed comet in 2004, after C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) and C/2002 T7 (LINEAR). The very special of this discovery was the time, which was dominated by the LINEAR, NEAT and other survey's and gives an extra profit to Bradfield, a great Australian veteran discoverer of 76 years.

Comet Seeking (William Bradfield, in the page of the ASSA).


Roy Tucker - C/2004 Q1

Roy Tucker (Goodricke-Pigott Observatory, Tucson, USA) discovered his comet on CCD images taken on August 23rd. with a reflecting telescope of 0,35 m, considering a coma diameter of 50 ", a tail length of 70 " and 14.6 magnitude. The preliminary orbital elements  provided q = 2,0 AU, perihelion on December 7th.

The story of the discovery appeared in A/CC Major News About Minor Objects:

Bits of luck, Roy Tucker





1 - Roy Tucker

2 - Triple telescope of 35 cm of the Goodricke-Pigott Observatory.

3 - C/2004 Q1 in Cetus, one of the images of the series of the discovery, obtained on August 23rd. The comet was estimated visually ~13.0. The star shining outside the left edge of the field, SAO 110700, has magnitude 8.2.


Donald Machholz - C/2004 Q2 - C/2010 F4

[Images: Donald Machholz, next to the telescope used for the discovery, image taken on August 29th. by its son, Mark Machholz; C/2004 Q2, image CCD obtained by Michael Mattiazzo on November 16th.

Donald Machholz (Colfax, California, USA), like Bradfield, is another prolific discoverer. He found his 10th comet, C/2004 Q2, visual with a reflector of 0,15 m at 30x, on August 27th. It was magnitude 11.2 and had a coma of 2 '. C/2004 Q2 would pass perihelion on the 24th of January 2005 with q = 1,2 AU. It was expected that the comet would reach 3 mag. in January.

A personal commentary on its discovery appeared on August 29th. in the comets-ml of Yahoo:

“… It was only yesterday morning when I found the comet but much has happened since then.

I began comet hunting on Jan 1st, 1975, and for nearly 30 years I've done some comet hunting every month. At the time I found this comet I had searched 7046 hours, 1457 since my previous find, in 1994, when I found three comets in four months.When I found this latest one I was on my back deck, using my 6 " (15cm) Criterion Dynascope (purchased in 1968). I used a 2 " ED eyepiece pressed to over the focussing I had, yielding 30x and a field of view of about 2 degrees. This is the same setup I use for my Messier Marathons, and I used it last March to find all 110 objects by memory in one night. I'm very comfortable with it. I uses it on my back deck from Time to 10 Time to compliment the " reflector and 5 " homemade binoculars I have in my observatory 30 meters from my house. With the 6 " in the deck I dog see down to -45 degrees declination. Is had covered some of the southern sky on Aug 25, then went back out on Aug 27 to cover dwells sky, working my way eastward to after each N-S sweep.

We will just have to wait and see what the comet actually does. After I reported the discovery it is out of my hands. I take not credit for what it does, whether it fizzles, or brightens a lot or it hits some habited planetary body! We all are now observers … “

Details about this discovery can be found on his webpage.

C/2010 F4


[Images: Donald Machholz, next to the telescope used in the discovery, C/2010 F4 in CCD image obtained by Ramon Naves on 27 March at 4h00 UT].

The IAUC 9132 of March 26, 2010 reported the discovery of a new comet made ​​visually by Donald Machholz on March 23rd. with a 0.47 m reflector 77x. with magnitude 11 and a coma of 2 '. The discovery was confirmed on Mar. 26th by itself, at a position indicative of a rapid movement towards the Sun, and later by other observers. Preliminary parabolic orbital elements of C/2010 F4  (Machholz) appeared on MPEC 2010-F88 on the 27th, showing perihelion on April 5th at the distance q = 0.61 AU.
This is the 11th. visual comet discovery for Machholz, who had searched 607 hours since his last discovery C/2004 Q2. Also, this is the first visual comet discovery after 2006. (IAUC 9127 (subscription required). (Maik Meyer

From the comets-ml:

Thanks for all of the kind words about this comet discovery. The search for this comet was typical, I do a bit more than 100 hours a year of visual searching, but the discovery was unusual in that it took three days to get it confirmed.
This is mainly due to the fact that I could not detect certain motion in the 15 minutes that I had the comet on the discovery morning. Then I had bad weather for the next two days. Meanwhile, its rapid motion prevented it from being picked up by others.

Later this weekend I'll be writing a more full story than is on, and by next week you can find it there and download it too. Discoverystory

As you know, the comet is faint, and will not be easy to see in the days ahead.

Take care.

Don Machholz
Colfax, CA

John Broughton - P/2002 T5 - C/2006 OF2

[Images: left, John Broughton, next to the telescope used in the discovery of P/2004 T5; right: the weak comet in one of the CCD images that confirmed the finding, obtained by Robert McNaught with the 1 m telescope on October 24th. from Siding Spring,  showing a small coma of 2" strongly condensed with a weak tail].

P/2002 T5

John Broughton (Reedy Creek, Queensland, Australia) discovered the periodic comet P/2005 T5 on CCD images obtained on October 9th. (magnitude 18,5) with a reflector of 0,51 m, which was confirmed by other observers. The object was also found in previous images (26th of August, Siding Spring Survey, and later ones of LINEAR). The P/2005 T5 passed perihelion on November 3rd. at a distance of q=3.2 AU, with P=19.5 years.


C/2006 OF2

On July 17th. 2006, initially supposed as asteroidal object found in images CCD taken by John Broughton with a reflector of 0,25 m, and its cometary nature was later confirmed by Carl Hergenrother in CCD images obtained on September 20th. and 26th. (magnitude 18) with the Catalina 1,5 m Kuiper telescope. C/2006 OF2 will pass perihelion on September 15th. 2008 at a distance of q=2.4 AU.

The comet was visually observed for a long period, reaching maximum of brightness between September 2008 and January 2009, within magnitude 9,8 - 10.5.

Robert McNaught - C/2006 P1

Detailed information on this impressive comet can be found on, the Great Comet of 2007:

C/2006 P1 (McNaught)


C/2006 P1 (McNaught), 20 January 2007

Siding Spring Observatory, Australia

Robert McNaught

Robert McNaught next to the Uppsala telescope of 0,5 m which was used for the discovery of comet C/2006 P1

Siding Spring Observatory, Australia

Robert McNaught


On September 1st. 2009, IAUC 9070 informed about the discovery of a new comet by Robert McNaught, on CCD images obtained on August 31st.  (magnitude 17) with the 0,5m Schmidt  telescope of Siding Spring. The preliminary elements of C/2009 Q5 (McNaught) appeared in MPEC 2009-R02, with q=1.6 AU and perihelion on March 11th. 2010.

This comet is number 50 of this great observer, in a splendid series of comet discoveries in which it emphasizes the Great Comet of 2007, C/2006 P1 (McNaught).

(Later, MPEC 2009-R31 offered improved elliptical orbital elements for P/2009 Q5 (McNaught), that has turned out to be of short period, according to which the comet would pass perihelion on the 8th of September 2009 with q=2.9 AU, an  P=21 years. ).


P/2009 Q5 (McNaught) in Sculptor, 27th September 2009.

(The comet, located in the center of the image, of almost stellar appearance, was estimated visually m1~15.2. The star located in the right part of the image, TYC 6426-2456-1, has magnitude 12.1)


David Levy - P/2006 T1

IAUC 8757 on the October 3rd. communicated the discovery of a new comet, C/2006 T1 (Levy). The object was found visually on  October 2nd.  (magnitude 10,5) with a reflector of 0,41 m, near the planet Saturn, and is number 22nd from David Levy (Jarnac Observatory, Tucson, Arizona, USA). The discovery was later confirmed by other observers with CCD and visually. CCD images obtained 3 days later by Peter Birtwhistle (telescope of 0,40 m, Great Shefford, Berkshire, U.K.) showed a round 4.5' coma and a of 14 ' long tail. The comet was also observed visually by Alan Hale on October 6th. with a reflector of 0,41 m (Cloudcroft, New Mexico, USA), with a total magnitude of 9.8. The preliminary orbital elements appeared in the MPEC 2006-T21, the comet would pass perihelion on the October 9th. 2006 with a distance q=1.1 AU.

A story of the discovery appeared in the News from of Sky & Telescope:

The MPEC 2006-T47 (7th of October) offered improved elliptical orbital elements, that confirmed to be of short period, according to which it would pass perihelion on the same day of the MPEC, 7th of October, at a distance q=0.99 AU, with P=5.4 years.

P/2006 T1 (Levy) in LEO, near Saturn, 3rd of Oct. 2006

(The comet was visually m1=9.4, showing a fine ionic tail of 10'. The star in the right edge of the image, GSC-1410-0382, has magnitude 13.6)

Image: SCT 406 mm + CCD,

Peter Birtwhistle, Great Shefford Observatory (Berkshire, U.K. )


 David Levy, Wendee Levy, Tom Glinos - P/2010 E2 (Jarnac)

An apparently asteroidal object discovered by D. H. Levy, W. Levy, and T. Glinos on Mar. 9, 2010, using a 64-cm reflector at Jarnac Observatory (Vail) has been found to be cometary after posting on the NEO Confirmation Page. D. Chestnov and A. Novichonok (remotely from Tzec Maun Observatory near Mayhill) and W. H. Ryan and E. V. Ryan (Magdalena Ridge) reported about the cometary appearance of the 18.5m object. The MPC was also able to link observations of the Mt. Lemmon Survey obtained on Feb. 17, 2010. The orbit for comet P/2010 E2 (Jarnac) shows perihelion on Apr. 7, 2010, at about 2.4 AU. The period is about 25.3 years. This is the first amateur discovery in 2010, and the 23rd comet for Levy. (IAUC 9125, MPEC 2010-E64).  (Maik Meyer

Image: Confirmation image

Terry Lovejoy - C/2007 E2 - C/2007 K5 - C/2011 W3 - C/2013 R1 - C/2014 Q2

[Images: Left, Terry Lovejoy, with its Canon cameras 350D and 300D used for the discoveries of C/2007 E2 and C/2007 K5. Right: the C/2007 E2 in one of the images of the discovery, obtained by Lovejoy on March 15th. In this image, with the North to the left, the comet was considered visually m1=9.5. The bright star at the left edge of the image, SAO 246725, has magnitude 6.5]

C/2007 E2

Terry Lovejoy (Thornlands, Queensland, Australia) discovered the comet in images obtained on the March 15th. (magnitude 10) with a Canon camera 350D + telephoto lens 200 mm f/2.8, in which it showed an outstanding central condensation and a coma of 4 ' with characteristic greenish color. The discovery was visually confirmed by John Drummond (Gisborne, New Zealand) on the 16th. with a 0,41m  telescope and magnitude 9.5.

IAUC 8820 offers additional information on C/2007 E2 (Lovejoy), for which new astrometry (MPEC 2007-F32) allows to calculate orbital elements, according to which the comet will pass perihelion on March 27th. 2007 at a distance of q=1.1 AU. In the last days of April it will have it's maximum approach to the Earth, 0,4 AU, being able to reach magnitude 7-8,  observable in good conditions from the North Hemisphere.

A personal commentary on its discovery appeared the March 17th.  in the Comets-ml of Yahoo:

“Is use Digitalis SLR doubles bed to image the sky, and then process the images using IRIS then examines them using the blink technique on to computer monitor. After to very intensifies search effort in 2006 without success (one to near miss with C/2006 M4), I had wound back my efforts in 2007 (partly because of C/2006 P1 and partly because of tires). March 15 was only the second Time this to year I had donates any searches in the morning sky. While downloading images from the double bed on March 15 Is noticed to cometary object AT the edge of 16 raw images centred AT RA 20h57m DEC -51d 18m made between 17h22m and 17h46m UT. Normally, the raw unprocessed images show only the brightest objects under I was very suprised that this could sees an undiscovered comet. AT first I though it was simply to bright deep sky object, but to after processing the intensifies telltale green hue and generally morphology strongly suggested comet. Additionally, blinked when I the processed images it showed small but to clear motion. Astrometry quickly revealed not known object in that location. At this point I was very sure I had something:)

For The following day there was an agonising wait cometrise (about midnight from my location) and I notified to number of people for followup observations. John Drummond being located to further east had the first opportunity to see the comet. Sure enough John phoned me to confirm the existence of the comet around 11pm local Time. Its first Time I have spoken to John and what to way to introduces yourself! 16 UT give to Green contacted annoys on to me March to advise me that the comet had been announced, but ace Rep standard procedure the comet would not sees named until an orbit was calculated and it was determined the comet was not an existing named one.

All told I estimate I have examined about 1000 image fields since annoys 2004, which would equate to about 1000 hours (it takes me 10 you make a draft to actually examines an image, but there plows to other Time consuming tasks like setup/development/identifying suspect objects, etc). Unfortunately I don't keep record on Time taken and images examined.

Rob McNaught informs me that unusually cloudy to weather there are severly hampered coverage of the Siding Springs survey. Additionally, I also checked SWAN this morning and the last posted image is February 18. Visual Moonlight problably explained why observers hadn't got to the comet first… “


C/2007 K5

- May. 29 - IAUC 8840 reported the discovery of a comet, 2007 K5, by Terry Lovejoy in images obtained  May26th. (magnitude 13) taken with a Canon camera 300D + telephoto lens 200 mm, f/2.8, in which it showed one comma of 1 ' with characteristic blue-greenish color. John Drummond (Gisborne, New Zealand) confirmed the discovery on CCD images obtained on May 28th., Robert McNaught (telescope of 0,5 m, Siding Spring, Australia) obtained astrometríc data on May 29th. Orbital parameters are not facilitated, but the IAUC provides astrometry of the images of Lovejoy, Drummond and McNaught.

- May. 31 - the MPEC 2007-K80 offers improved parabolic orbital elements of C/2007 K5 (Lovejoy), according to which the comet passed perihelion on April 26th. 2007 with a distance q=1.1 AU.

Terry also commented its new discovery on May 30th. in the Comets-ml of Yahoo:

“… After to discovering Comet C/2007 E2 on March 15 this to year, I a.m. happy to report finding to another Comet just 2 months to later! Naturally I a.m. elated, especially since this one was to much to tougher and challenging find, proving my techniques plows working.

Particular This comet (designated C/2007 K5) was found ace to small faint but still to rather obvious blue-green haze in my images from the evening of May 26. Initial My estimate is mag 13, but I admit I have not attempted dwells needs photometry and visually the comet could well sees brighter. Interestingly the discovery was made during to bright waxing moon and in the evening sky where moderate light pollution prevails. On the evening I had both doubles bed (to Canon 300D + Canon 350D) mounted the usual way with the 300D pointed towards -18 declination and the 350D pointed towards declination -11. This allows me to image 13 degree wide sweep of sky from west to east. Individual Some 12 starfields were covered with both doubles bed, with 12 subexposures of 90 seconds for each starfield.

The following day, I downloaded the images from my 300D and ran them through the usual automated processing steps (IRIS is used for this). This processing step outputs 2 images Rep starfield effectively separated by 10 you make a draft under that moving objects like comets dog sees identified. By “blinking” the 2 images one dog see objects like asteroids and comets bobbing backwards and forwards. On examining the first image I almost immediately noticed to moving small hazy object with to distinctive blue green colour typical of many comets. For I knew I had something sure, and notified to number of to other for confirmation of to possible comet.

Confirmation Comecon on May 28 when both John Drummond and I made followup observations, which were then sent to Dan Green AT CBAT. Further followup was obtained on May 29 by Rob circular McNaught before an official (IAUC 8840) announced the new comet ace C/2007 K5. Interesting, C/2007 K5 required less than 20 hours of present searching in contrast to the estimated 1400 hours for C/2007 E2.

The comet itself appears to sees clears faint, and will problably remain that way, but to comet none-the-less. Further eleven astrometry is require to calculate an orbit and this is donates the comet will sees named. “

C/2007 K5 (Lovejoy) in Lepus, two of the images of the discovery, 26 and 28 of May of 2007

(Images with North to the right. The comet was magnitude 13. The bright star of the right field, SAO 151019 has magnitude 8.4)

exhibitions: 12 90 xs seg, 400 ISO, Canon 300D, objective 200 mm, 200 mm to f/2.8

(Terry Lovejoy, Australia)

C/2011 W3

C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy): Discovered on 2011 Nov. 27, by Terry Lovejoy using a 0.2-m reflector and CCD in the course of his routine comet searching from Thornlands, Australia. This is his third comet discovery. The comet is a member of the Kreutz group but seems intrinsically faint. Thus a bright comet at perihelion or a survival of it seems questionable. The comet will remain a southern hemisphere object close to the sun. At discovery it was at 13m, q=0.005 AU, T=2011 Dec. 16. CBET 2931, MPEC 2011-X16 (Maik Meyer

Copyright: Amy & Sarah Lovejoy

Discovery images. Copyright © 2011 by Terry Lovejoy (Thornlands, Queensland, Australia)

A great site showing the appearance of this Great Comet can be found at

Copyright © 2011 by Vello Tabur (Michelago, New South Wales, Australia)

Quanzhi Ye - C/2007 N3

[Images: Left, Quanzhi Ye, in the Lulin Observatory. Right: C/2007 N3 in Aquarius, discovery images obtained on July 11th.

An apparently asteroidal object (magnitude 19) was found by Quanzhi Ye (Guangzhou, China), on images obtained on July 11th by Chi Sheng Lin (Institute of Astronomy, Central National University, Jung-Li, Taiwan) during the Lulin Sky Survey (telescope of 0,41 m, Lulin Observatory, Taiwan), and his cometary nature was perceived in CCD images obtained on July 17th by James Young (telescope of 0,61 m, Table Mountain Observatory, California, USA). The preliminary orbital elements of C/2007 N3 (Lulin) appeared in the MPEC 2007-O05, according to which the comet would pass perihelion one January 7th 2009 in a perihelion distance q=1.2 AU. The date of the perihelion settled down later on January 10th.


It reached maximum brightness in the last week of February, its approach to the Earth (0,41 AU day 24): J.J. Gonzalez, from Leon, reported m1=4.8 on Feb. 23rd, with a coma of 30 '; observing (in binoculars 10x50) 1.5º long ion tail and 1.5º dust tail.

C/2007 N3 in Libra, 5 February 2009

[The comet was estimated visually  m1 ~6,0, with its characteristics tail and antitail].

Image: Telescope 200 mm + CCD, taken by Michael Jäger


Tao Chen and Xing Gao - C/2008 C1

[Images: Left, Tao Chen; right: Xing Gao, in the Xingming Observatory. Center: the C/2008 C1 in one of the images of the series of the discovery, obtained on February 2nd. The comet was estimated visually m1~13.0. The brightest star of the field SAO 20455, has magnitude 8.1]


According to the report of Jin Beize (Peking Technology and Business University, China), the comet was found by Tao Chen (Suzhou, Jiangsu) in an CCD image obtained February 1st. 2008 (magnitude 13) and by Xing Gao (Urumqi, Xinjiang) with a telephoto lens of 7 cm, focal length 200mm, to f/2.8, and Canon camera 350D, in Xingming Observatory, TM. Nanshan, during a search program of Novas. The comet was also found in previous images obtained by Gao January 30th. and 31st. (mag. 14.0 and 13,5), and on February 2nd (mag. 12.0). Later, the discovery was confirmed in images obtained by numerous observers worldwide. It was also observed visually by Alan Hale (USA) in m1=13.1. The preliminary orbital elements appeared in the MPEC 2008-C16, with q=1.3 AU and perihelion on April 17th.  being able to reach magnitude 11.


Rui Yang and Xing Gao - P/2009 L2

Rui Yang (Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China) identified the comet in CCD images obtained June 15th. (magnitude 14) by Xing Gao with a telephoto lens of 10,7 cm (diameter) at f/2.8, and Canon camera 350D, in the Xingming Observatory, during its search program for comets. The discovery was later confirmed by other observers.

The preliminary orbital elements appeared in the MPEC 2009-M05, with q=1.3 AU, with a perihelion on May 19th. and P=6.6 years, being 0,32 AU from Earth on the day of the discovery.

[Images: Left, Rui Yang; right: the P/2009 L2 in an section of one of the images of the series of the discovery, obtained June 15th. The comet was estimated m1~13.0. The brightest star in the field, SAO 161246, has magnitude 8.6]

One of the discovery images of the P/2009 L2, obtained by Xing Gao, 19:51 UT on June 15th, showing a region of the Milkyway between Serpens and Sagittarius. The position of the comet is indicated in the lower left corner. 


Robert Holmes - C/2008 N1

[Images: Left, Robert Holmes. Center: the C/2008 N1 in Pegasus, one of the discovey images. Right: 0,61m telescope of the Astronomical Research Observatory]


An apparently asteroidal object (magnitude 20) was found on CCD images taken July 1st. by Robert Holmes, obtained with a 0,61m telescope (Astronomical Research Observatory, Charleston, Illinois, USA), and its cometary nature was found on CCD images obtained on July 4th. by Peter Birtwhistle (0,40 m telescope, Great Shefford, U.K.), and on July 5th. by other observers. The preliminary orbital elements of C/2008 N1 (Holmes) appeared in the MPEC 2008-N19, showing a perihelion on September 24th. 2009 at q=2.8 AU.

A story and images of the discovery can be found on the pages of the observatory:


Stanislav Maticic - C/2008 Q1

[Images: Left, Stanislav Maticic next to the 0,60m Cichocki telescope of the Crni Vrh Observatory; right: the C/2008 Q1 in Draco, one of the discovery images.]

The stellar object at magnitude 17,8 was found on CCD images taken August 18th, under strong lunar interference, by Stanislav Maticic, with a robotic 0,60m telescope, during the search program PIKA of comets and asteroids developed at the Crni Vrh Observatory (Slovenia), and its cometary nature was found by Herman Mikuz on images on the 19th obtained with the same telescope, confirming itself later by other observers. It is the first comet discovery from Crni Vrh. The preliminary orbital elements appeared in the MPEC 2008-Q12, showing a perihelion on January 2nd. 2009 with a distance of q=2.9 AU. Later astrometry improved the orbital elements, with a perihelion on December 30th 2008.

Herman Mikuz wrote the following describing the circumstances of the discovery:

Stanislav Maticic discovered comet C/2008 Q1 (Maticic) in the course of the Crni Vrh Observatory Asteroid and Comet Search program PIKA, on August 18, 2008. A new comet ( first comet discovery from Crni Vrh Observatory ) was automatically detected on images taken between Aug. 18.81364 UT and 18.84247 UT with the 0.60-m f/3.3 Cichocki Sky Survey Telescope. Discovery images were taken in moonlight conditions ( two days after the Full Moon ). In such conditions, the object cometary appearance was not evident until next evening, August 19, when the confirmation images were obtained in much darker sky conditions. Further inspection of series of 1 minute unfiltered followup exposures obtained with the same telescope around Aug. 19.816 UT show that this object has diffuse appearance ( coma diameter ~10 arc sec ) with strong condensation. After being posted on NEO Confirmation Page, additional measurements were obtained by several observatories. The discovery was announced in IAU Circular 8966. Complete observations and preliminary parabolic orbit were published in MPEC 2008-Q12.


Michel Ory - P/2008 Q2





1 - Michel Ory and the Observatoire Astronomique Jurassien (Vicques, Switzerland).

2 - P/2008 Q2 in Piscis, discovery image, obtained August 27th, 22h32 UT. The comet was estimated magnitude 17,6.]

3 - Michel Ory with the telescope Bernard Comte of 61 cm.


Michel Ory (Delemont, Switzerland) discovered the object, initially asteroidal of magnitude 17,6, on images CCD taken August 27th. 2008 with the telescope Bernard Comte (0,61 m) of the Observatoire Astronomique Jurassien in Vicques. The cometary nature the P/2008 Q2 was perceived in CCD images taken on the 28th. by several observers, among others: A. Knoefel (telescope of 0,5 m, Schoenbrunn, Germany), L. Buzzi (telescope of 0,60 m, Varese, Italy), A.C. Gilmore and P.M. Kilmartin (telescope of 1 m, Mount John University Observatory, New Zealand). The preliminary elliptical orbital elements appeared in the MPEC 2008-Q51, according to which the comet would pass  perihelion on October 23rd. 2008 with a distance q=1.4 UA, and P=6.0 years.

Later astrometry allowed improved orbital elements, according to which the comet would pass the perihelion on October 19th. 2008, distance q=1.38 AU, with P=5.8 years.


Eleanor Helin (1932 - 2009)

Eleanor Helin, born Eleanor Kay Francis (Pasadena, USA) was one of the most outstanding figures in the study of NEO's, in which she began when another great pioneer, Eugene Shoemaker, California Institute of Technology was gotten up in 1969 to California Institute, in which Helin worked in projects of Geology and Planetary Scientist. From the collaboration of both the PCAS (Palomar Planet Crossing Asteroid Survey) in 1973 arose, program predecessor of NEAT (Near Earth Asteroid Tracking), been born in 1995 under the cover of the NASA and the JPL programs where Helin was the main investigator. Then, in the beginning of the 90s, the photographic plates progressively were replaced by the more effective CCD.

The Fast-Moving Object Helin 1976 AA, (2062) Aten, was the first asteroid with an orbital semiaxis (a = 0,967 UA) smaller than the one of the Earth, being the prototype of the NEO family. It was inevitable that, in its long years of fruitful search, Helin would discover several comets. First C/1977 H1 (Helin), which would follow others more (with the aid of assistants like Brian Roman, Randy Crockett, Jeff Alu and Ken Lawrence), among them was 1977e = some of short period, like 111P, 117P, 132P, 151P and 152P.

In words of Alain Maury (in mpml), “… not only was she one of the 3 pioneers (if you count Gene Shoemaker and Tom Gehrels), but she tried very hard getting others to observes NEO's. She collaborated with many observatories worldwide trying to get them to make their own survey. She has been a good ambassador of JPL around the world. Behind every working survey there are great people ..., and Glo was one of the top one, starting with films on the 18inch at Palomar to the era of digitized surveys. She was hard working, and earned her place fighting for it.

(A more complete biographical reference has been realised by Brian Marsden, International Comet Quarterly, 31, pp. 3-4, 2009).

Charles Juels (1944 - 2009) and Paulo Holvorcem - C/2002 Y1 - C/2005 N1

Paulo Holvorcem (left) and Charles Juels in Arizona, 2001 (Image: Chris Holvorcem)

Charles Juels, born in New York and doctor of profession, dedicated with intensity his efforts to Astronomy, being a prolific asteroid discoverer, 316, of which 134 along with Paulo Holvorcem (Brazil). In the cometary field, the successful team  Juels  - Holvorcem will be remembered by two interesting discoveries, C/2002 Y1 and C/2005 N1.

C/2002 Y1

It was discovered on CCD in images taken on December 28th. 2002 (magnitude 15) by means of a refractor of 0,12 m from Fountain Hills, Arizona. The  preliminar parabolic orbital elements showed perihelion on April 10th. 2003 with a distance q=0.67 AU (IAUC 8039).

Later astrometry allowed to obtain improved elliptical orbital elements, according to which the comet would pass the perihelion on April 13th. to the distance q=0.71 UA, with e=0.997. The comet came near to the visual magnitude m1=6.0 near perihelion.

C/2002 Y1 in Berenices Comma, one of the images of the series of the discovery. The comet was estimated magnitude 15,1 CCD. Comparing, the star most shining of the central part of the field, TYC 1458-120-1, has magnitude 8.8.

A personal story of Paulo Holvorcem on the discovery appeared in the list Minor Planet List Mailing - mpml of Yahoo, of which the following text has been abstracted:

  “Me and Charles collaborate over the Internet, with the help of “fast” ADSL Internet connections, which makes it easy to communicate and transfer images in near-real time between Fountain Hills (near Phoenix, Arizona) and my home in Campinas, Brazil. From here I do schedule search and follow-up runs at Fountain Hills using software I wrote for this purpose (or planned by Charles), and we split the tasks of data analysis by transferring images over the Internet. The astrometric observations from codes 926, 848, and 860, which you see in MPECs are obtained in an analogous way. These days I hardly leave my house to observe!

  We were very lucky to find C/2002 Y1 on the first night with the new 0.12-m refractor on an automated mount. For some time we had considered the idea of doing wide-field searches new “bright” objects, and this was our first experiment. The field of view is about 2,3 x 2,3 degrees. On that first night (Dec. 28th.) we searched some 300 square degrees and were surprised to find an object of apparently diffuse appearance. On the discovery images and few others taken for follow-up on the same night suggested a coma about 1,8 ' in diameter, which we didn't immediately report (it seemed too much luck, maybe it was not real). But we reported the positions immediately to the MPC, which posted the object (as HJ0080 then referred to) on the NEOCP. It was soon confirmed by others, so we were sure that it was real. Real as it was, then the co-addition of the images showed that it was a comet. Then we reported the detection of the coma on Dec. 29th., and soon afterwards the comet was announced on an IAUC and to MPEC.”


C/2005 N1

It was discovered by Charles Juels and Paulo Holvorcem on images CCD obtained on July 2nd. (magnitude 14,6) by means of a refractor of 0,07 m from Fountain Hills, having located also in some of his previous images (June 30th. and July 1st.). The preliminary orbital parabolic elements showed perihelion August 21st. to the distance q=1.1 UA (IAUC 8557). 

Later astrometry made show perihelion the date on August 22nd., at q=1.1 AU, with e=0.998. Its maximum of brightness reached magnitude m1=11.2 shortly after the perihelion.

C/2005 N1 in Perseus, in one of the images of the series of the discovery, being considered magnitude 14,6.  The brightest star of the field, SAO 56296, has magnitude 6.7.


Koichi Itagaki - C/2009 E1






1 - Koichi Itagaki and the 21 cm telescope used for the discovery, Takanezawa.

2 - Quarter of control of the observatory.

3 - The C/2009 E1 in one of the images of the series of the discovery obtained by Itagaki.

 4 - Confirmation image, obtained March 15th. by Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero and Paul Camilleri. The comet was considered visually then in m1=9.6 at first. Comparativily, brightes star in the edge superior of the field, SAO 110737, has magnitude 9.5


Koichi Itagaki (Yamagata, Japan) found the comet on images taken March 14th. with of a telescope of 0,21 m located in Takanezawa, using software for the automatic detection of moving objecs designed by Hiroshi Kaneda. Deduced CCD magnitude of the images was 12.8. Juan Jose González realised a visual confirmation from Leon the same day, considering his magnitude in m1=9.6, with a coma of 4,5 ', authenticated confirmation on the 15th. by other observers using CCD images. Michal Kusiak (Observatory of the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland) informed that the comet was visible in the Lyman images alpha of the ultraviolet phantom of hydrogen obtained by instrument SWAN of space mission SOHO, considering an approximated total magnitude of 11. The preliminary orbital elements calculated by Syuichi Nakano appeared in the CBET 1721, according to which the comet would pass the perihelion on April 7th. 2009 at a distance of q=0.61 AU.

Later astrometry allowed to obtain improved elliptical orbital elements, with e=0.985.


Dae-a.m. Yi - C/2009 F6



C/2009 F6 in a field of Cassiopeia, April 7th. 2009, image of Michael Jaeger. The comet was considered visually then in m1 ~8,1, with a coma of 7 '. The brightest star of the field, in the edge inferior of the image, is SAO 35961, of magnitude 7.7.


IAUC 9034 of April 6th. announced the discovery of a new comet, C/2009 F6. The presence of an ultraviolet object in images of instrument SWAN of space mission SOHO, was detected on March 29th. and later by Robert Matson (Californian, USA), who asked for days 4 and of April to several 5 observers the confirmation of the possible comet. In response to the request of Matson, Juan Jose González could realise a visual confirmation on April 6th. (6,15 UT) from Burgos, considering one m1=8.2 and coma of 6 ' using a reflector of 15 cm, and m1=8.1 with binoculars 25x100. After its publication in the NEOCP, numerous observers confirmed it.

IAUC 9035 of April 6th. extended the information on C/2009 F6, with respect to the existence of a previous report to their finding in the images of the SWAN. The comet was discovered by Dae-a.m. Yi (Yeongwol-kun, Gangwon-do, Korea) on CCD images obtained on March 26th. with a Canon camera 5D and objective of 90 mm f/2.8, considering magnitude 12.5. The preliminary orbital elements of C/2009 F6 (Yi-SWAN) appeared in the MPEC 2009-G21, according to which the comet would pass perihelion on May 8th. 2009 a a distance of q=1.3 AU.


Mauro Vittorio Zanotta (1963 - 2009)

On Sunday May 17th. 2009 an unfortunate accident took place in the French slope of Mont Blanc, in which Mauro Vittorio Zanotta (Laino, Italy), was killed, loving Mountain climbing and Astronomy. C/1991 Y1 will be remembered in the cometary community by its discovery of the comet 1991g1 = (Zanotta-Brewington), on  December 23rd, 1991 using a reflector of 15 cm, and independently by Howard Brewington (Cloudcroft, New Mexico, the USA) (IAUC 5412).

A useful and interesting text of Zanotta on the observation and search of comets can be consulted in:


C/1991 Y1 (Zanotta-Brewington) in the Pegasus, 30 December 1991

(The comet was estimated visually then in m1~9. The brightest star of the field, SAO 106884, has magnitude 8.0)

Image:  Telescope 190 mm + CCD (image in false color), taken by Herman Mikuz.


The La Sagra Sky Survey - 233P/La Sagra = P/2009 WJ50 - P/2009 QG31 - P/2009 T2 - P/2010 R2 - C/2012 B3 - P/2012 NJ - P/2012 S2


The great mountain of the Sagra dominates the horizon on one of the telescopes of 45 cm, used in the discovery of P/2009 T2

Astronomical observatory of La Sagra

233P/La Sagra = P/2009 WJ50

An apparently asteroidal object, discovered on Nov. 19, 2009, in the course of the La Sagra Sky Survey (LSSS) has been found to show cometary appearance in images taken in the course of the WISE mission. Upon request of the MPC M. T. Read and J. V. Scotti (Spacewatch) and W. H. Ryan and E. V. Ryan (Magdalena Ridge) were able to confirm this result. Additionally, the comet was identified with a two-night detection by LINEAR of May 8, and 10, 2005, then named 2005 JR71. The orbit for comet P/2009 WJ50 =2005 JR71 (La Sagra) shows perihelion on Mar. 12, 2010, at about 1.79 AU. The period is about 5.3 years. This is the 6th amateur comet discovery in 2009, and the 3rd for the La Sagra Survey. (IAUC 9117, MPEC 2010-D01, -D02). (Maik Meyer

P/2009 QG31

IAUC 9078 on September 29th. announced the discovery of a new periodic comet, P/2009 QG31 (La Sagra). Initially supposed as an asteroidal object (magnitude 18) it was found on images obtained on August 16th. and 19th. by the La Sagra Sky Survey (Astronomical observatory of La Sagra, telescope of 0,45 m, Puebla of Don Fadrique, Granada, Spain), and its cometary nature was perceived in CCD images obtained September 12th. by Andrew Tubbiolo and Robert McMillan with the Spacewatch telescope of 1,8 m (Steward Observatory, Kitt Peak, Arizona, USA), and later by other observers. The elliptical orbital elements appeared in the MPEC 2009-S67 and MPEC 2009-S151, according to which the comet would pass perihelion on October 10th. 2009 to the distance q=2.1 AU, with P=6.8 years.

Present (2009) the instrumentation of the LSSS consists of three telescopes of 0,45 m. f/2.8 located in the Astronomical observatory of La Sagra. The pursuit of the objects is realised by means of the telescopes of the OLS and the OAM. The acquisition and reduction of data are made entirely remote via Internet, by the members of LSSS located in Spain, Germany,  Croatia and Hong Kong.

In the obtaining of the images of the discovery of P/2009 QG31 Rescuing Sanchez participated, Jaime Nomen, Reiner Stoss, William K. Yeung, Juan Rodriguez, Aleksandar Cikota and Stefan Cikota.

Reiner Stoss

The main activities of the OLS are astrometry and photometric observations of asteroids and comets. Until September 2009 more than 500000 observations has been sent to the MPC. From 2008 the LSSS has become the most prolific NEO program after Catalina, LINEAR and Spacewatch, the three important programs subsidized by the NASA.

Confirmation images of P/2009 QG31, obtained on September 18th by Gustavo Muler and Richard Miles.

Faulkes Telescope North (Haleakala, Hawaii, the USA) + South (Siding Spring, Australia)


P/2009 T2

IAUC 9081 October 13th. announced the discovery of a new periodic comet, P/2009 T2 (La Sagra), found by Reiner Stoss on images obtained on October 12th. (magnitude 17) by Jaime Nomen during the La Sagra Sky Survey (Astronomical observatory of La Sagra, telescope of 0,45 m). The discovery was confirmed by other observers. The object has been located in previous images (September 18th. and later ones) of the Catalina Sky Survey. The elliptical orbital elements appeared in the MPEC 2009-T39, according to which the comet will pass perihelion on January 12th. 2010 to the distance q=1.8 AU, with P=21 years.

In the obtaining of the images of the discovery of the P/2009 T2 participated, Jaime Nomen, Reiner Stoss, William K.  Yeung and Juan Rodriguez.

Confirmation images of P/2009 T2, obtained on October 13th. by Richard Miles.

Golden Delicious Hill Observatory (J77, tel. 0.28 m, Stourton Caundle, Dorset, UK) + Faulkes North (F65, tel. 2.0 ms, Hawaii, USA)

P/2010 R2 (LA SAGRA)

J. Nomen reports that an object, discovered in the course of the La Sagra Sky Survey on Sep. 14, 2010, showed some diffuse appearance, which was later confirmed on Sep. 16. Prediscovery images by La Sagra of Aug. 13, did not show that diffuseness so clearly. After placement on the NEO Confirmation Page P. Birtwhistle (Great Shefford, England), R. Holmes and S. Foglia (Westfield, Illinois) and J. V. Scotti (Spacewatch, USA) confirmed the cometary nature of the 17.5m object. Comet P/2010 R2 (La Sagra) passed perihelion already on June 25, 2010, at about 2.6 AU. The period is about 5.5 years. It seems that this object is one of the so called 'main belt comets'. This is the 4th discovery for the amateur survey La Sagra. (CBET 2459 (subscription required), MPEC 2010-S11)  

Jan Vales - P/2010 H2

, Jan Vales by the 0.60 m telescope of Cichocki of Crni Vrh Observatory
right: P/2010 H2-like asteroidal in Virgo, one of the images in the series of the discovery. The brightest star in the field, TYC 311-1309-1, on the left edge, has magnitude 10.4]

The CBET 2249 of April 17th., 2010 reported the discovery of an asteroidal object with unusually bright appearance, by Jan Vales on CCD images obtained on April 16th. (magnitude 12.6) using a 0.60 m telescope (Crni Vrh Observatory, Slovenia
). ="">

On April 19th, the CBET 2253 provided additional information. The object was comet, P/2010 H2 (Vales), confirming the presence of a small elliptical point expansion. The new improved astrometric orbital elements, with the perihelion on April 24th. 2010.
The object would have been approximately in 1976 to a minimum distance of 1.0 AU from Jupiter.

The IAUC 9139 and 9137 of April 25th. provided interesting new data. Yang Bin as reported by Sarid and Gal (University of Hawaii), have achieved results in near-infrared spectrophotometry (0.8 to 2.5 microns) from observations on 20th. and April 22nd. by 3 m IRTF telescope (Infrared Telescope Facility, NASA, Mauna Kea - Hawaii). Both nights were observed two broad absorption bands centered at 1.5 and 2.0 microns, which are consistent with the abundance of water ice grains in the central coma. Additionally, we detected a narrow band at 1.65 microns, which indicated the presence of heavy security crystalline ice. According to these preliminary results, the temperature of ice particles observed is about 100 ± 20 K. Moreover, visual estimates in the days after the outburst provide a magnitude m1 ~ 11.5 (Apr. 22) for expanding a coma diameter ~ 1 '. MPEC 2010-H57 offers improved elliptical orbital elements and ephemeris, with perihelion on March 8th., 2010 at a distance q = 3.1 AU, and P = 7.5 years.

Following a text of Jure Skvarca about the circumstances of discovery:

On images taken by Jan Vales in the course of the Crni Vrh Asteroid and Comet Search program PIKA, on April 16th., 2010, an unusually bright unknown object ( mag. 12.5 ) was automatically detected. The object was near opposition, in an area searched by Catalina Sky Survey ( CSS ) just a day before. As it is not usual to encounter unknown objects of this magnitude in the area recently scanned by sky surveys, a question of its nature naturally appeared. The object was placed on the Near Earth Object Confirmation Page and with the help of observations from other observatories it became apparent very soon that it is about 2 AU away. In case that this was an asteroid (as we would infer from the stellar appearance on the discovery images) this would mean a diameter in the order of 100 km, which is extremely unlikely. The remaining explanation within common knowledge of the Solar system is that it is a cometary outburst of a large magnitude. Recently a similar outburst was experienced by comet 17/P Holmes. This object has triggered massive activity of 40 observatories around the world which contributed altogether 226 observations to the Minor Planet Center ( MPC ). The observers from the CSS confirmed that the object is not visible on their images taken only 15 hours before the discovery. There was a lively debate about the nature of this object on the Minor Planet Mailing List with most plausible explanation that it is a previously unknown comet in outburst. Further observations by several observers showed that the object has a wider profile than nearby stars and Alain Maury detected faint coma on long exposures made from Chile. At 19:25 UT on April 17 the MPC issued an electronic circular MPEC 2010-H12 where the object is designated as a comet P/2010 H2. The orbit is still not very well determined, but most likely it has a semimajor axis of 3.9 AU and eccentricity of 0.2. This is similar to the orbital elements of the asteroids of the Hilda family. This object will undoubtedly be investigated further in the days to come.

Kaoru Ikeya and Shigeki Murakami - P / 2010 V1

(Images: Left, Kaoru Ikeya, right: Shigeki Murakami, with the telescopes used for the discovery)

C/2010 V1 was discovered visually and independently by Kaoru Ikeya (Mori-machi, Shuchi-gun, Shizuoka-ken, Japan; 25 cm reflector telescope at 39x) on November 2nd., 2010, and Shigeki Murakami ( Tohkamachi, Niigata-ken, Japan; reflector at 78x 46 cm) on November 3rd., according to the IAUC 9175 from November 3rd.  

The IAUC 9176 November 4th. provided additional information, and MPEC 2010-V46 parabolic orbital elements by which the comet had passed perihelion on October 18th. at the distance q = 1.7 AU. Visual estimates with binoculars made on November 4th. offered a m1 ~ 7.5.

New astrometry ( MPEC 2 010-W29 ) showed that the comet is of short period, with elliptical orbital elements by which the comet had passed perihelion on October 11th. at the distance q = 1.6 AU, with P = 5.0 years.

An extensive story of the discovery appear on Murakami's page:

P/2010 V1 Virgo, November 14, 2010

[The comet was estimated visually m1 ~ 8.2, with a parabolic point of about 10 'along the major axis. The brightest star in the field is SAO 139129, magnitude 7.7. The galaxy visible on the left edge is NGC 4941, magnitude 12.0. ]

Image taken with a 200 mm telescope + CCD by Michael Jäger

Brian Geoffrey Marsden (1937 - 2010)

2010 November 18th.

Mike Meyer: "It is with great sadness that I have to report the death of Brian G. Marsden, one of the greatest astronomers. Brian was the person who has inspired all my astronomical career and helped me so many times with his helpful, patient and friendly answers to all my questions. Without him I would not have achieved what I have. Brian was always helpful to amateurs and listened and gave advice. I am proud to be a "groupie" as he once described Rainer Kracht, himself and me in regard to our comet groups. I will really miss him..."

The obituary by Gareth Williams.

Leonid Elenin - C / 2010 X1 - P/2011 NO1

C/2010 X1

The CBET 2584 of December 13th., 2010 reported the discovery of a new comet by Leonid Elenin (Lyubertsy, Russia) on CCD images obtained remotely from the ISON-NM Observatory (Mayhill, New Mexico, USA) on December 10th. (19 mag.) with a 0.45 m reflector. It was later confirmed by other observers. The very preliminary parabolic orbital elements and ephemeris appeared on MPEC 2010-X101 , according to which the comet had passed perihelion on April 1st., 2010 at a distance q = 5.2 AU.

Subsequent astrometric orbital elements yielded improved, according to which the comet will pass perihelion on September 10th., 2011, to the interesting short distance q = 0.48 AU.

P/2011 NO1

Amateur astronomers L. Elenin (Lyubertsy) and I. Molotow (Moscow) report their discovery of a new comet on Jul. 7th, 2011, using a remotely controlled 0.45-m astrograph at the ISON-NM observatory near Mayhill (NM, USA). After posting on the NEO Confirmation Page R. Holmes, S. Foglia, and T. Vorobjov (Ashmore), Foglia, P. Miller,
P. Roche, A. Tripp, R. Holmes, R. Miles, L. Buzzi (Faulkes Telescope North), L. Buzzi (Varese), N. Howes, G. Sostero, and E. Guido (Faulkes Telescope South), and H. Sato (Nerpio) confirmed the cometary nature of the 19.5m object. While the object was prepared for announcement by the CBAT it was already announced as asteroid 2011 NO1 by the MPC. The first orbit for the still nameless comet P/2011 NO1 indicated perihelion on already on Jan. 22, 2011, at about 1.2 AU. The period is about 13.1 years. This is Elenin's
second comet discovery. (Maik Meyer

Michael Schwartz - C/2011 K1

Paulo R. Holvorcem (Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil) and Michael Schwartz (Patagonia, AZ, USA) report their discovery of a new comet using the Tenagra III astrograph on May 26, 2011. After placement on the NEO Confirmation Page W. H. Ryan and E. V. Ryan (Magdalena Ridge Observatory), L. Buzzi (Varese), and R. Holmes, T. Vorobjov, and S. Foglia (Ashmore) confirmed the cometary nature of the 18.5 m object. The first orbit for comet C/2011 K1 (Schwartz-Holvorcem) shows perihelion on Apr. 19, 2011, at about 3.4 AU. This is the 3rd. comet discovery for Holvorcem. (IAUC 9211 (subscription required),MPEC 2011-L04) (Maik Meyer

Tom Gehrels (1925 - 2011)

July 11th., 2011

In 2011, Professor Tom Gehrels passed away, discoverer of 4 periodic comets (64P/Swift-Gehrels, 78P/Gehrels 2, 82P/Gehrels 3, 90P/Gehrels 1). An article on
Wikipedia describes his live and achievements.
Remembering Tom Gehrels (1925–2011)

Artyom Novichonok and Vladimir Gerke - P/2011 R3

The Russian amateur astronomer Artyom Novichonok reports the discovery of a new comet by Vladimir Gerke and himself on images taken with a 40-cm Ritchey-Chretién reflector located at Ka-Dar observatory (near Nizhniy Arkhyz, Russia). After posting on the NEO Confirmation Page N. Howes, G. Sostero, and E. Guido (remotely using Faulkes Telescope North at Haleakala), G. Hug (Scranton), and T. H. Bressi (Spacewatch) were able to confirm the cometary nature. The first orbit for the 18.5m comet P/2011 R3 (Novichonok) indicated perihelion already on Aug. 23, 2011, at about 3.6 AU. The period is about 10.7 years. (Maik Meyer

Claudine Rinner - P/2011 W2 - C/2012 CH17

Copyright: Claudine Rinner

P/2011 W2 (Rinner): Discovered on 2011 Nov. 28, by Claudine Rinner using a 0.5-m reflector situated at Oukaimeden Observatory, Morocco. 17m, q=2.3 AU, T=2011 Oct. 10, P=10.3 years. CBET 2922, MPEC 2011-W80 (Maik Meyer

C/2012 CH 17: Discovered as an asteroidal object in the course of the Morocco Oukaimeden Sky Survey on 2012 Feb. 7. 18m, q=1.3 AU, T=2012 Sep. 28, CBET 3020, MPEC 2012-C48 (Maik Meyer

Manfred Bruenjes - C/2012 C2

Copyright: Manfred Bruenjes

C/2012 C2 (Bruenjes): Discovered on 2012 Feb. 11, by amateur astronomer Manfred Bruenjes (Warrensburg, Missouri, USA). 11.5m,  q=0.8 AU, T=2012 Mar. 12, CBET 3019, MPEC 2012-C44 (Maik Meyer
Details about the discovery can be found on his website.

Discovery image of C/2012 C2

C/2012 B3 (LA SAGRA)
C/2012 B3 (La Sagra): Discovered on 2012 Jan. 29, in the course of the amateur La Sagra survey. 18.5m, q=3.5 AU, T=2011 Nov. 29, 5th comet for La Sagra, CBET 3012,
MPEC 2012-C23.
An apparently asteroidal object discovered on CCD images taken with the 0.45-m f/2.8 reflector at La Sagra, Spain (discovery observations tabulated below) was later noted by Jaime Nomen on La Sagra images taken on Jan. 30.2 to be a possible comet with slight diffuseness. After posting on the Minor Planet Center's NEOCP webpage, other CCD astrometrists have commented on the object's cometary appearance. CBET 3012 (Maik Meyer

A more complete story about the discovery can be found here.

P/2012 NJ (LA SAGRA)
An apparently asteroidal object found on CCD images taken in the course
of the La Sagra survey by S. Sanchez, J. Nomen, M. Hurtado, J. A. Jaume, W. K.
Y. Yeung, P. Rios, F. Serra, and V. Rios with a 0.45-m f/2.8 reflector
(discovery observations tabulated below) has been reported by Gerhard J. Hahn
(Institute of Planetary Research, German Aerospace Center, Berlin) as showing
a 35" tail in p.a. 235 deg on stacked and single images taken by Stefano
Mottola using the 1.23-m telescope on Calar Alto on July 16, 17, and 18 UT.

Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok - C/2012 S1 (ISON)

Amateur discovery by V. Nevski and A. Novichonok in the course of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) Survey from near Kislovodsk, Russia, on 2012 Sep. 21. (Maik Meyer

About the discovery...

It was first unstable night after ten ones of hard work. The endless clouds disturbed to look around the sky. That night Artyom and me decided to walk through early discovered asteroids with the most interesting orbits.But the sky became clean literally for half an hour till the dawn and it was decided to launch continious search platform on the border of Twins and Cancer – by chance.After the ending of the series Artyom went to have a rest. And I loaded platform in CoLiTec and remained to wait the processing completion learning earlier discovered astrometry of asteroids. When I started the programme of completing results the first thing I noticed among the third position objects was the bright one with unusual moving. The object was not identified with the MPC base. The unusual thing was rather slow movement relatively to the asteroids of the main zone in this region. At that moment I started to realize that so slow object did not belong to the asteroid zone and could be situated only far away behind Jupiter`s orbit. My heart missed a bit. Is it really a comet? There was nothing to do except disposing astrometry on the site NEOCP for acknowledgement. In the evening I asked Artyom to book the time for observation of the object on the 1.5m telescope of Maidanak
observatory to be sure in the comet nature of the object. Artyom and me looked through old materials,analyzed possible orbits of a new object, by then there appeared some new astrometry points. About 4 o`clock in the morning we saw the pictures – no doubt that it was a comet, classical compact one, 9x11, similar to long-period comets. We immediately sent a message to IAU. We were waiting for results. We were afraid that the object has already been discovered. But the most interesting was that the orbit of the comet started to appear with the introduction of new points of astrometry and the analysis showed perihilion near the Sun, so the brightness of the comet in the maximum could reach the full Moon. Finally on October 24 there was a circular and it was hard to believe that perihilion of the comet was 0,01 a.e. and at the maximum brightness could reach negative dimension and such one that the comet could become quite a comet of the century!

Vitali Nevski

Left: Artyom Novichonok  right: Vitali Nevski
Copyright: Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok

Discovery image of C/2012 S1
Copyright: Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok

Confirmation of cometary activity
Copyright: Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok

P/2012 S2 (LA SAGRA)
Discovered in the course of the amateur La Sagra Sky Survey on 2012 Sep. 23. 18m, q=1.4 AU, T=2012 Aug. 19, P=10.5 years.
CBET 3239, MPEC 2012-S79 (Maik Meyer

Tomas Vorobjov - P/2012 T7 (Vorobjov)

Tomas Vorobjov , Bratislava, Slovak Republic, using remotely a 0.81-m f/7 Ritchey-Chretien reflector located at the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter.

On three 120-s images via the Sierra Stars Observatory Network in the course of a minor-planet search survey undertaken as part of the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) school campaigns. After posting on the Minor Planet Center's NEOCP webpage, other observers have commented on the object's cometary appearance. The discovery was announced by the Minor Planet Center on 18 October, three days after the discovery.
Full coverage of the discovery can be found at

Copyright: Tomas Vorobjov

Discovery image of P/2012 T7
Copyright: Tomas Vorobjov

Animation of P/2012 T7
Copyright: Tomas Vorobjov

Paulo Holvorcem - C/2013 D1 (Holvorcem)

CBET 3420 announced the discovery of a new comet by Paulo Holvorcem in the course of a sky survey using a the Tenagra III astrograph. It was discovered a 19.2 mag according to MPEC 2013-D41.

This is the 4th. comet discovery but the first getting his name only. The other discoveries were made the late Charles Juels or recently with Michael Schwartz.

Masuyuki Iwamoto - C/2013 E2 (Iwamoto)

CBET 3439 announced the discovery of a new comet by Masuyuki Iwamoto ( Awa, Tokushima-ken, Japan) on CCD images taken on March 10th and 11th using a 100 mm f/4 lens and a Canon EOS 5D DSLR camera.

Copyright: AstroArts/Hiroshi Ando

Copyright: AstroArts/Hiroshi Ando

Copyright: Masuyuki Iwamoto

C/2013 H1 (LA SAGRA)

Discovered in the course of the amateur La Sagra Sky Survey on 2013 Apr. 19. 18m, coma 15", tail 16", T = 2013 June 1.3726,  q = 2.62 AU, (CBET 3485), MPEC 2013-H27

Gennadii Borisov - C/2013 N4 (Borisov)

Ukrainian amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov discovered a brand new comet on July 8 near the bright star Capella in the constellation Auriga. The comet was confirmed and officially christened C/2013 N4 (Borisov) on July 13. At the time of discovery, Borisov was attending the Russian-Ukrainian “Southern Night” star party in Crimea, Ukraine. He nabbed the comet – his first – using an 8-inch (20-cm) f/1.5  wide field telescope of his own design equipped with a CCD camera.
Telescope: GENON (designed by the discoverer), D=200mm, F=300 mm,  CCD: FLI ML 16803, field 7 x 7 deg.

Copyright: Oleg Bruzgalov

Copyright: Oleg Bruzgalov
Discovery image
Copyright Gennady Borisov
Copyright Gennady Borisov

Terry Lovejoy - C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy)

CBET No. 3649, issued on 2013, September 09th, announced the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~14.4) by Terry Lovejoy on CCD images obtained with a 20-cm f/2.1 Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector on two nights. The new comet has been designated C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy). It is the 4th. discovery. More information about the discovery circumstances can be found here written by Terry Lovejoy.

In recent months I have been putting a considerable amount of effort into improving my automatic comet detection software. It’s now at the point I am saving a considerable amount of time compared to the old method of blinking frames by eye. So it’s really pleasing to have the software find a new comet, C/2013 R1.
On the morning of September 7 (UT) I did an imaging run consisting of 225 individual fields, with 3 separate exposures on each field. By taking 3 separate exposures of the same field, spaced by a time interval of, in this case 8.5 minutes, allows detection of minor planets and asteroids much easier. In practice objects moving as slowly as 0.2 degrees per day show a small but noticeable shift between the images.
Returning to September 7, all of the fields were processed through the detection software which identified a number of suspects. Although mostly false positives are were found in the form of poorly registered stars, reflections and asteroids but one the suspects located in field number 76, centred on RA 6h 00m Dec -7d 9m, looked very much like a comet. At first I thought this would be one of the existing periodic comet’s, but a quick check in guide showed nothing as well as a check using the online Comet NEO Checker tool on the Minor Planet Center website. A further check against the Digital Sky Survey showed nothing either (sometimes a row of faint stars can give the impression of a moving object if one or more of the stars is not visible in one of the image triplets). Below is the actual image triplet with the suspect in it.
Figure 1 – The “suspect” as imaged at 2:30am, 2:38am and 2:47am local time. Each exposure is 14 seconds
Once it was established there was no existing object was there, it was necessary to rule out reflections from bright stars. I have been fooled by this a couple of times before, luckily never reporting it to CBAT until follow-up observations were performed. Furthermore it was surprising this could be a new comet, since the area was readily accessible to northern hemisphere surveys and amateur comet hunters.
So I extrapolated the position for the following morning at RA 05 59 40 and Dec -06 33 00 and waiting anxiously for that area of sky to get high enough to image. At 1:15 am I fired off a single 30 second exposure and as the image displayed I immediately saw a diffuse object very close to the predicted position. I felt positive I had a new comet, but to be sure I began a sequence of 30 second exposures, and as the images display slowly but surely I could see the object move against the star field. There was now no question about this being a comet, but to be certain it was time for other people to confirm the sighting and an orbit to be determined prior to an official announcement. The orbit is important in determining whether the comet is new, or a lost periodic one being rediscovered. Furthermore CBAT have a strict process to prevent embarrassing mishaps (in the past a number of non-existent comets actually got designations).
After obtaining 3 additional astrometric positions from September 8, I submitted a report to CBAT and soon the NEO Confirmation page was updated to reflect the new object. Thanks to the prompt action of the following stations A79, H36, H47, I39, I47, Sato at I89 and Guido, Howes, Sato, Novichonok, Urbanik, Ligustri at Q62 the comet was quickly confirmed as C/2013 R1 in CBET 3649 issued on September 9.
The prospects for C/2013 R1 are quite favourable as it approaches the earth to 0.4 AU in late November when it will most likely be visible in binoculars from dark skies. Images seem to indicate a larger external coma and that the true brightness is around 2 magnitudes higher than current predictions, so it will be interesting to watch total magnitude estimates as it gets closer to the sun. Perihelion occurs on Christmas day when it will be between the orbit of earth and Venus, but it will have receded to 0.9 AU from the earth which should result in a net fading (but it should also be more condensed then). During this time it will pass close to Comet ISON and it may be possible to photograph both of them together with a short telephoto lens.

Finally here are some summary of statistics for this find:
Parameter Value
Comet Discovery Location Monoceros
Comet Discovery Site E27
Comet Designation C/2013 R1
Discover Date Sep 9.7688, 2013
Comet Altitude at discovery 28
Comet Discovery Magnitude 14
Images taken since last Discovery 70,000
E27 Latitude 27.55 S
E27 Altitude 30m
E27 Clear nights (Jan) typical 3
E27 Clear nights (Aug) typical 10
E27 Annual Rainfall 1200mm
E27 Typical night humidity 60-95%
E27 Sky Brightness range SQM 19.0-20.0 at Zenith
Scope Aperture 20.3 cm F ratio 2.1 T ratio (calculated) 2.9
Camera CCD Kodak 8300 KAF
Field of view 2.44 x 1.83 degrees
Image Scale 5.21 arc secs
Exposure range 10-40 seconds
Software Maxim DL, ASCOM, Source Extractor / Pinpoint

C/2013 R1 : 80 x 30 second exposures, FOV is 33 x 33', North at left. Taken September 10.7, 2013 UT.
Copyright Terry Lovejoy

Albert Jones (1920 - 2013)

On September 11th. the community of comet discoverers lost the discoverer of two comets. Albert Jones passed away at the age of 93. He was a active observer of variable stars and discovered both comets during observing variable stars. His first comet discovery was in 1946 (1946h Jones) , the second in 2000 (C/2000 W1  UTSUNOMIYA-JONES).

Albert Jones with the telescope used for his discovery of comet 2000 W1 (Utsonomiya-Jones).

Michael Schwartz - P/2013 T2 (Schwartz)

CBET No. 3676, issued on 2013, October 22, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~18.8) by M. Schwartz on CCD images obtained with the 0.41-m f/3.75 Tenagra III astrograph.

Paulo Holvorcem - C/2013 U2 (Holvorcem)

CBET No. 3683 announced the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~ 19 mag.) by Paulo Holvorcem on CCD images.

Personal communication:
The comet was discovered on images taken with the Tenagra 0.41-m astrograph on 2013 Oct. 23 between 09:59 and 11:01 UT, with the moon being 81% illuminated and near zenith. To avoid excessive moonlight interference, search fields for that night were chosen more than 40 degrees from the moon. One of the search areas was chosen some 13 degrees north of the galactic plane, about 48 degrees from the moon. According to the MPC's sky coverage map, this area had not been searched by other surveys that report their sky coverage for at least two weeks, so it seemed like a promising area to search for comets and NEOs. Images from the search with the Tenagra astrograph are processed for moving objects with SkySift, a real-time image processing pipeline I first developed in 2005 for the wide-field bright comet search with Charles Juels at Fountain Hills (2004-2008). On visually inspecting the small subframes around moving object detections produced by the pipeline, in order to reject false ones, I noticed one detection near the corner of a field (these subframes are contained in the attached zip file). The detection was false, but by coincidence the small ... field of the subframes showed a faint real object which coincided with the false detection in the first image only. I measured the positions and magnitudes of this last object on the subframes, and found out why it had not been automatically detected: due to the not so good seeing and very low signal-to-noise ratio, the measured positions were not very accurate, and did not fit well enough to a uniform motion to satisfy the automated detection criteria. I immediately suspected that it could be a comet, due to its slow motion (0.12 deg/day) and a very slight hint of diffuseness. However, the seeing on the discovery images was not good enough to demonstrate this diffuseness. To clarify this, on the next night (2013 Oct. 24 UT) I took three unfiltered 300-s exposures with the Tenagra 0.81-m telescope. This time seeing was good, and I could clearly see that the object was a comet, with a 6" coma and a 6" tail. I then reported the comet discovery to the CBAT and the MPC. The object was placed on the new Possible Comet Confirmation Page (PCCP), and the cometary nature was confirmed by several astrometrists. It stayed on the PCCP for a week, until enough observations could be collected to provide a reasonably firm estimate of the orbit. It turned out to be a long-period comet with perihelion near the distance of Jupiter. This was the third high perihelion comet found at Tenagra in 2013.

In retrospect it was a very lucky find, coming only 8 days after the discovery with the same telescope of C/2013 T2 (Schwartz).

  C/2013 U2 : discovery images, Size: 1.9 x 2.3 arcminutes.

Copyright Paulo Holvorcem

Gennadii Borisov - C/2013 V2 (Borisov)

Personal communication:

On the night of November 6th I made a deep survey observation in Auriga constellation with my telescope Genon 300/1.5, CCD FLI ML16803, exp 600 sec (usually exp.90-180 sec) (information about the telescope GENON 300/1.5 - non commercial project.
I make these telescopes myself. (The comet C/2013 V3 (Nevski) was discovered with the same telescope).

On the same night I made an animation of the first images and found the new diffuse object (too near to the edge of the frame) After that I finished the survey immediately and started doing a series of that object only. Here are some shots and animation made at the moment of the discovery.

2013 V2 : Discovery images, Copyright Genadii Borrisov

 Vitali Nevski - C/2013 V3 (Nevski)

Vitali Nevski reported the discovery of a comet with a 60" coma on four180-s CCD exposures obtained on Nov. 7, with a 0.2-m f/1.5 reflector (and confirmed with images taken using a 0.4-m f/3 reflector) at the ISON-Kislovodsk observatory near Kislovodsk,Russia.

C/2013 V3: Confirmation image. Copyright Viali Nevski.

Copyright Vitali Nevski

Michel Ory - C/2013 V5 (OUKAIMEDEN)

CBET No. 3713, issued on 2013, November 15, announced the discovery of an apparently asteroidal object (discovery magnitude ~19.4) by Michel Ory on CCD images obtained with a 0.5-m f/3 reflector at the Oukaimeden Observatory, Marrakech. It is his second discovery but the first named after the sky survey at Oukaimeden Observatory. More about his first discovery:  P/2008 Q2, Michel Ory

Copyright Michel Ory

C/2014 A4 (SONEAR)

CBET No. 3783, issued on 2014, January 16, announced the discovery of an apparently asteroidal object (discovery magnitude ~18.1) by Cristovao Jacques, Eduardo Pimentel, and Joao Ribeiro de Barros on CCD images obtained on Jan. 12.0 UT with a 0.45-m f/2.9 reflector of the Southern Observatory for Near Earth Research (SONEAR) at Oliveira, Brazil. The object has been found to show cometary appearance by CCD astrometrists elsewhere and then also by Jacques et al. The new comet has been designated C/2014 A4 (SONEAR). Source.

Story about the circumstances of the discovery:

December and January are the rainy season months in Brazil, but this year has been atypical, so we had 12 clear nights in a row. The C/2014 A4 was discovered on the night of January 12th. There was 85% iluminated moon, and we begun the night surveying some low elongation regions due west. Clouds came and we close the roof. One hour later, the sky was clear again and we begun to work on the region between R.A 5 and 6 hours, and declination -40 and -50, with 180 seconds exposures at 10 minutes intervals. The beginning of  the survey was centralized at dec -40 and as  half of the field was above this declination, we spotted the object at declination -39.6 in a matter of lucky, on the 5th survey field. Since December 18th, we are sending the Sky Coverage  report to the MPC., so our coverage for that day can been easily seen.

I use Skysift, a real-time image processing pipeline software developed by Paulo Holvorcem to detect moving objects, but due to my activities, I could only begin to analyse  the images 12 hours after the end of the night. The object apparently was asteroidal, and I made all the checks, including the NEOCP ratings. The rating was good to send to NEOCP. On the next day, Ernesto Guido emailed me saying that he imaged the object in Australia and it was a little bit elongated. One day more, he confirmed the comet nature using Faulkes South. On the same day I also did 60 x 60s images using the T31 telescope of, and after stacking images, it was clear that it was a comet. After we sending our reports, MPC changed the object S002239 from NEOC to PCCP. More observations were done and the circular was issued on January 16th,

discovery images

Telescope used for the discovery.

SONEAR observatory

SONEAR staff: Joao Ribeiro (left), Eduardo Pimentel (middle), Cristovao Jacques (right)

All images copyright Cristovao Jacques & SONEAR

Cristovao Jacques - C/2014 E2 (Jacques)

CBET No. 3828, issued on 2014, March 14, announced the discovery of a comet (~ magnitude 14.7) on CCD images taken by  C. Jacques, E. Pimentel and J. Barros using a 0.45-m f/2.9 reflector at the SONEAR Observatory near Oliveira, Brazil. The new comet has been designated C/2014 E2 (JACQUES).

Report of the discoverer:
On the night 12-13th March with a 12 day old Moon, we begun our NEO survey in regions close to the western horizon, and near the opposition meridian around declinations -30 and -40.  Moon and thin haze clouds were an excellent source for the formation of many false positives in our detection software. In the middle of the night, I checked the second batch of many detections, then suddenly a bright, fast with a little tail object appears in our blinking session. No doubt it was a comet. The traditional check points were done as well the communication to the MPC and CBAT. The object was posted in NECOP as S002692 . After sending the report I tried to grab more follow-up images as the weather begun to deteriorate. The comet was around magnitude 14.5 according our measurements, but I suspected  it was brighter visually.

As soon as it was overcast, I received a message from  my friend Andrés Chapman, Argentine, mentioned that he was observing the new object and he asked me if I´d like to follow up his work. He shared his  screen and I was able to see his images. The comet was obvious, and it was  the end of a funny night.

discovery images

William A. Bradfield (1927 - 2014)

On June 9th the community of comet discoverers lost one of the most sucessful discoverer of comets. William A. Bradfield passed away at the age of 87. He started searching for comets in 1972 and discovered 18 comets visually. All of his 18 discoveries were credited to him alone. His last discovery was C/2004 F4, which passed the sun quite near. A review of his life as a comet hunter can be found at

Obituary William Bradfield (1928-2014)

His remarkable list of discoveries:
  1. C/1972 E1, discovered on March 12, 1972
  2. C/1974 C1, discovered on February 12, 1974
  3. C/1975 E1, discovered on March 12, 1975
  4. C/1975 V2, discovered on November 11, 1975
  5. C/1976 D1, discovered on February 19, 1976
  6. C/1976 E1, discovered on March 3, 1976
  7. C/1978 C1, discovered on February 4, 1978
  8. C/1978 T3, discovered on October 10, 1978
  9. C/1979 M1, discovered on June 24, 1979
  10. C/1979 Y1, discovered on December 24, 1979
  11. C/1980 Y1, discovered on December 17, 1980
  12. C/1984 A1, discovered on January 7, 1984
  13. C/1987 P1, discovered on August 11, 1987
  14. C/1989 A3, discovered on January 6, 1989
  15. C/1992 B1, discovered on January 31, 1992
  16. C/1992 J2, discovered on May 3, 1992
  17. C/1995 Q1, discovered on August 17, 1995
  18. C/2004 F4, discovered on March 23, 2004

Terry Lovejoy - C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy)

CBET No. 3934, issued on August 18th. 2014, announced the discovery of a new comet. On August 17th., Terry Lovejoy, Birkdale, Australia discovered his 5th. comet, using a 20cm f/2.1 telescope, equipped with Hyperstar and a QHY9 CCD camera.
More details can be found on his discovery report. Thanks for joining it, Terry.

Image triplet taken by Terry Lovejoy of his comet discovery. The comet moves slightly counterclockwise around the larger fuzzy spot over the time frame. Copyright: Terry Lovejoy

 Gennadii Borisov - C/2014 Q3 (Borisov)

CBET No.. 3936, issued on 2014, August 24th, announced the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~17) by G. Borisov (Observatory MARGO, Nauchnij). The new comet was found on CCD images obtained with a 0.3-m f/1.5 astrograph telescope, taken on 2014, August 22.02. The new comet has been designated C/2014 Q3 (BORISOV). This is his 3rd. discovery within 13 months ! 

Personal report from the discoverer:
In June I started hunting with my new telescope - GenonMax ( D=300mm, F/D 1.5, FOV 4.8 x 4.8 deg).

August, 22 (01 UT) I detected a diffuse object at the edge of the frame (the edge of the frame, as always :):) ) .
But I had doubts. Fortunately, the object was also detected on the next plaste. ( areas crossed). Exp. 120 sec, Mag 17 R.
I sent the information to the MPC. Two days later, сircular MPEC 2014-Q38 was published.

All images copyright Gennadii Borisov

 Gennadii Borisov - C/2014 R1 (Borisov)

CBET No.. 39XX, issued on 2014, Sept. 6th, announced the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~16) by G. Borisov (Observatory MARGO, Nauchnij). The new comet was found on CCD images obtained with a 0.3-m f/1.5 astrograph telescope, taken on 2014, Sept. 5th. The new comet has been designated C/2014 R1 (BORISOV). 

Personal report from the discoverer:

Early in the morning September 05 ( 00:10 UT) I found a fairly bright object - 16 mag. in Constellation Cancer. Exp 105 sec. There is no doubt- new comet! And with a short tail !
I send the observations to the MPC ( MPEC 2014-R64).

All images copyright Gennadii Borisov

Friedrich Wilhelm Gerber (1932 - 2014)

On Wednesday October 21st. the German comet discoverer Friedrich Wilhelm Gerber passed away. He discovered several comets during his stay in Argentina in the 1960s. He worked 20 years as pastor near Lucas Gonzalez, Entre Rios. Two comets were named after him as well as 2 other discoverers. 1964 L1 (Tomita-Gerber-Honda) and 1967 M1 (Mitchell-Jones-Gerber). The comets were discovered with small binoculars. He was still an active comet observer especially doing spectroscopic observations of comets. The image shows 3 comet discoverers during a meeting of the German Comet section in 2004. In a personal letter to Maik Meyer he described his 10 discoveries. Due to the remote location and the lack of information only two discoveries were credited to him. He also "discovered" the following comets.

1 Humason 1962 B 1961 f 1962 VIII
2 Ikeya 1 1963 A 1963 a 1963 I
3 Tomita-Gerber-Honda 1964 A 1964 c 1964 VI
4 Ikeya 2 1964 B 1964 1964 VIII
5 Rudnicki 1966 B 1966 g 1967 II
6 Mitchell-Jones-Gerber 1967 C 1967 f 1967 VII
7 Honda 1986 A 1968 c 1968 IX
8 White-Ortiz-Bolelli 1970 B 1970 f 1970 VI
9 Mori-Sato-Fujikawa 1976 A 1975 j 1975
10 West 1976 B 1975 n 1976

Some more details about his life and discoveries can be found here

Michael Jäger - Friedrich Wilhelm Gerber - Sebastian Hönig (Copyright unknown)

 Leonid Elenin - P/2014 X1 (Elenin)

CBET no. 4034, issued on 2014, December 14, announced the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~18) by Leonid Elenin on three CCD images taken on 2014, December 12 with a 0.4-m f/3 astrograph at the ISON-NM Observatory near Mayhill, NM, USA. The new comet has been designated P/2014 X1 (ELENIN). This is his third discovery.


 Gennadii Borisov - C/2015 D4 (Borisov)

CBET no. 4071, issued on 2015 March 3, announced the discovery of a new comet by Gennadii Borisov on CCD images taken with a 0.3-m f/1.5 astrograph telescope. The new comet has been designated C/2015 D4 (Borisov). This is his fith discovery within 20 months. Great performance !

Personal report of the discoverer:

The confirmation of the comet was not very easy. It often happens with discoveries, especially with comet discoveries. 
The object was found in the morning on February 23. I sent observations in MPC and they were placed on the confirmation page (PCCP).
Several observers did not see the object on the following night.
Because of the bad astrometry the object significantly shifted from the expected position (the problem of my short-focus telescope GenonMax300 / 1.5)
We had bad weather at that time.
It was a clear night only on February 25 and I tried to find almost lost object.
It was not easy but I managed to see the position of an object with a small tail quite far from the ephemeris. It's fantastic: it is a comet and it exists!
More accurate position data of the object allowed other observers to confirm it.

All images copyright Gennadii Borisov

C/2015 F2 (POLONIA)

CBET nr. 4083, issued on 2015, March 26, announces the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~17) by R. Reszelewski, M. Kusiak, M. Gedek and M. Zolnowski on CCD images taken on 2015, March 23 with a remote-controlled 0.1-m f/5 astrograph of the Polonia Observatory at San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, in the course of their comet-search program. The new comet has been designated C/2015 F2 (POLONIA).


Cristovao Jacques - C/2015 F4 (Jacques)

CBET no. 4085, issued on 2015, March 31, announces the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~16) by C. Jacques on CCD images taken on 2015, March 27.2  by C. Jacques, E. Pimentel and J. Barros with a 0.28-m f/2.2 astrograph at the SONEAR Observatory (Oliveira, Brazil).  The new comet has been designated C/2015 F4 (JACQUES). It's his second discovery.


From the discoverer:

March was a rainy month and we could  only observe in two nights. Most of the time our search is dedicated to NEO survey, but we reserve some time to search for comets in low elongations.  At the very end of the night in the last field, we discovered an object of mag. 16.5 using  a 280 mm f/2.2 astrograph. The object seemed fuzzy and with a tiny tail and no doubts it was a comet.
Later, we follow up the discovery with some images in Australia using

Discovery images

Follow up

All images copyright Cristovao Jacques / SONEAR

Eduardo Pimentel - P/2015 Q2 (Pimentel)

CBET no. 4140, issued on 2015, September 02, announced the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~18.5) by Eduardo Pimentel on Aug. 24.2 UT with a 0.45-m f/2.9 reflector of the SONEAR Observatory at Oliveira. Follow-up observations to confirm the object were obtained by C. Jacques, E. Pimentel, and J. Barros with the same telescope on Aug. 27.3 and 31.3. The new comet has been designated P/2015 Q2 (PIMENTEL). It's the first comet discovery that takes his name.


All images copyright Eduardo Pimentel / SONEAR

Leonid Elenin - C/2015 X4 (Elenin)

CBET nr. 4216, issued on 2015, December 08, announced the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~18.2) by L. Elenin on three CCD images obtained with a 0.4-m f/3 reflector at the ISON-NM observatory near Mayhill, NM, USA on Dec. 3.5 UT. The new comet has been designated C/2015 X4 (ELENIN). This is his forth discovery.

Rolf G. Meier (1953 - 2016)

Amateur astronomer and comet discoverer Rolf G. Meier (1953–2016) died on June 26th after a short battle with cancer. He was the discoverer of four comets which bear his name (Meier 1978, 1979, 1980, 1984). He received the RASC’s Chant Medal in 1979 for his contributions. Source:

RASC’s Chant Medal

Copyright: Linda Meier

Gennadii Borisov - C/2016 R3 (Borisov)

CBET no. 4321, issued on 2016, September 16, announced the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~16) by G. Borisov with a 0.3m f/1.5 Genon astrograph. The new comet was found on three unfiltered CCD images ( each 70 seconds). M. Meyer, Limburg, Germany, has suggested similarity of the orbital elements of this comet with those of comet C/1915 R1 (Mellish). Until today, a linkage with the observations from 1915 have failed. This is his 6th. comet discovery.

Comment from the discoverer:
Observations were made on the 30cm, F/1.5  telescope( GenonMax, exposure 70 sec). Potential  object was detected in pictures made 30 minutes before dawn on 11 September.
There were doubts, so I decided to check it on the 50cm, F/1.9 telescope the next night. As soon as I saw this object again, I immediately sent astrometry
of the 1st and the 2nd nights. A 16-magnitude object moved low in the Leo constellation aprox.10-12 degrees above the horizon. This complicated its observation.

Image of the discovery ( Telescope D=300mm,F/1.5, exp 3 x 70 sec), Copyright Gennadii Borisov

Animation from 50 cm, F/1.9  telescope, exp. 120 sec ( next night),Copyright Gennadii Borisov

Klim Churyumov (1937 - 2016)

Copyright: Wikipedia

On Oct. 15th. one of the discoverer of 67P/Tschurjumow-Gerassimenko Klim Ivanovich Churyumov passed away. He discovered 2 comets. More details can be found here.

Roy Panther (1926 - 2016)

Within October 17th to 23rd the discoverer of comet C/1980 Y2 (1980u) Roy Panther passed away at a age of 90. He discovered 1 comet after searching for 33 years. More information can be found at

A video can be found on Youtube.

Copyright Northamptonshire Natural History Society

Leonid Elenin - C/2017 A3 (Elenin)

CBET no. 4344, issued on 2017, January 11th, announced the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~18) by L.Elenin  with a 0.4m f/2.4 Deltagraph at the ISON-SSO Observatory, Siding Spring on Jan. 5.4 UT. This is his 5th. comet discovery.

Comment from the discoverer:
I'm not a astronomer. I'm programmer and mathematician (work in Institute of Applied Mathematics). It's my hobby and I use my software for remote observations. I spend my money for hosting of two telescopes...

Copyright all images by Leonid Elenin

Joao Ribeiro Barros - C/2017 D2 (Barros)

CBET no. 4366, issued on 2017, March 1st. announced the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~17.4) by Joao Ribeior Barros. The discovery was made with a 0.45m f/2.9 telescope at the SONEAR Observatory on February 23rd.

Comment from Cristovao Jaques (member of the SONEAR team):
The rainy season in the southeast of Brazil ends on March, but we had a gap of several clear nights in February, that allowed us to continue our survey program (SONEAR) based in finding NEOs in the southern hemisphere. In the night of February 23rd., Joao Ribeiro was the responsible for analysing the candidates of moving objects generated by our survey software called Skysift. On that night, we surveyed a low elongation area located in the constellations of Sagittarius and Telescopium. Joao noticed a small dot moving but he could conclude that it was a comet. After we downloaded  the full frame for the 3 discovery images, he concluded that the object was a comet with a very condensed coma and  prepared the discovery report.

SONEAR staff: Joao Ribeiro (left), Eduardo Pimentel (middle), Cristovao Jacques (right)

Gennadii Borisov - C/2017 E1 (Borisov)

CBET no. 4369, issued on 2017, March 4th. announced the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~17.4) by Gennadii Borisov. The new comet was detected on three unfiltered 120-s exposures obtained on Mar. 1.10 UT with a 0.4-m f/2.3 astrograph at the "Mobil Astronomical Robotics Genon" Observatory (MARGO) near Nauchnij. This is his 7th. comet discovery.


Hunting in action:

All images copyright Gennadii Borisov

Terry Lovejoy - C/2017 E4 (Lovejoy)

CBET nr. 4373, issued on 2017, March 13, announces the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~15) by Terry Lovejoy. The new comet was found on  3 CCD images taken each 5 minutes apart on  March 9.68, with a Celestron C14 reflector operating at f/1.9 + QHY9 camera. This is his 6th. discovery.

Interview with Terry Lovejoy.

From the discoverer:

The latest comet, C/2017 E4, was found on a set of 3 images made on the morning of March 10 (Local time) in the constellation of Sagittarius.   Although my 6th discovery, this was the first discovery with the Hyperstar 14" Celestron Schmidt Cassegrain telescope.  However, because the field of view is now smaller I must now make shorter exposures, and more of them, to cover similar amounts of sky as possible.   However, I felt the extra aperture have has more than compensated especially since my location experiences quite bad light pollution being just 18 km from the centre of Brisbane, a city of more than 2 million people.
Back to the comet, it was found using MOD (Moving Object Detection) a computer program I wrote that searches sets of images for moving objects like comets of asteroids.  I tend to run MOD with very high sensitivity, which means it will identify anything remotely resembling a moving object, resulting in mostly false positive detection's.  In fact in crowded star-fields this can be as high as 90% false positives and so  I must examine each detection manually.  Nevertheless, this is huge time saver compared to examining the entire image manually. That morning a lot of the fields were in the milky way I had a large number of false detection's I had to examine, and there were also at least a dozen asteroids, but finally there was one object that had a definite coma and I knew almost certainly a comet.  I then did some checks against known asteroids/comets plus some checks to eliminate internal optical reflections as a cause for the detection.   This all checked out so I was certain of a new comet at this point.
I then sought independent confirmation from another observer, and looking at Messenger I could see Cristavao Jacques in Brazil was online, so I contacted him, but unfortunately dawn had started and he had closed up the observatory so there was no luck there.  I then contacted Michael Mattiazzo and he was able to get a confirmation image not long after from a remote telescope in New Mexico.  This was all well within the 24 hours of the actual discovery images, which is probably a record for me!   The comet was then posted on the Possible Comet Confirmation Page and astrometry started to stream in over the next few days and within 3 days the orbit was known with enough certainty for it to be designated as C/2017 E4.  The orbit indicates - unfortunately - this is an intrinsically small comet that probably stay quite faint (and it could even disappear altogether) but we can always hope for a better display.

All images copyright Terry Lovejoy


  Professional Surveys


Siding Spring: Robert McNaught (left) and Gordon Garradd (right) in front of the Uppsala dome and its office (right) in 2003.