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Follow-up of splitting event in Comet 168P

2 Nov 2012, 16:18 UTC
Follow-up of splitting event in Comet 168P
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Following our team's detection of a fragmentation event with comet 168P/Hergenrother on October 26, 2012, we requested via the Faulkes Telescope Education project that further observations be taken. Today, two UK Schools using the Faulkes Telescope kindly assisted in obtaining additional observations for us. The two schools (Queens College and the Dollar Academy) performed follow-up observations of this comet on 2012, Nov. 2.4, remotely through the 2m, f/10 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD of Faulkes Telescope North (Haleakala). Stacking of 26 R-filtered exposures, 35-sec each, obtained remotely, from the Haleakala-Faulkes Telescope North on 2012, Nov. 2.4, through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD, under good seeing conditions, confirms the presence of a secondary nucleus, or fragment, now placed about 3.3" in PA 165 with respect to the main central condensation of comet 168P. This fragment is now fainter, compared to our previous Oct. 26.4 detection, having R magnitude about 18.7; its diameter is still about 2", but now it appears more diffuse, without a clear central condensation (this hampers a precise determination of its photocenter). This fragment appears to have developed its own tail, nearly 4" long in PA 113 (about parallel to the main tail originating from the central condensation of ...

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