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Splitting event in comet 168P/Hergenrother

26 Oct 2012, 13:25 UTC
Splitting event in comet 168P/Hergenrother
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Over the past few weeks, comet 168P/Hergenrother has been under intense scrutiny due to its strange behaviour, namely a 6 magnitude surge in its brightness in a matter of several nights. Simultaneously the central condensation became markedly brighter and sharper, whilst the coma was also seen to grow in size. This has triggered the attention of amateur and professional astronomers alike. Most of the time these brightening events (comets are among the most unpredictable astronomical objects from themselves) originate from some activity within, or associated with, the nucleus of the comet. There were strong assumptions in the astronomical community on the possible emergence of some visible fragments in the coma, the potential consequences of a break-up of in the comet's nucleus. There have even been a few claims relating to a sighting within the comet hunting community, however these turned out to be most likely false alarms, due to the unfavourable combination of seeing/instrumental resolution within the amateur community. Our team have been monitoring the evolution of this comet with a variety of instruments including the research grade Faulkes Telescopes, with sub arcsecond imaging capability.Today...we found the fragment...Our team performed follow-up observations of comet 168P/Hergenrother on 2012, Oct. 26.4, remotely ...

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