E. Bowell, Lowell Observatory, communicates the following precise position, measured by him from an exposure by H. Guetter with the 1.5-m astrometric reflector at the U.S. Naval Observatory's Flagstaff Station: 1980 UT R. A. (1950) Decl. Apr. 1.21104 10 22 37.41 +11 27 50.4 The comet's image is diffuse and uncondensed (in moonlight). Computations by Bowell, and also by P. Herget, Cincinnati, confirm the general correctness of the parabolic orbit on IAUC 3461, and that the comet is currently located 1.7 AU beyond Jupiter. Bowell points out, however, that the comet will make a c1ose approach to Jupiter in 1980 Dec., and that since it passes on the inside of Jupiter's orbit the comet's orbit will become hyperbolic. Computations by the undersigned suggest that if the orbit is currently an osculating parabola, the closest approach to Jupiter will be 0.24 AU, and that at the comet's perihelion passage in 1982 Mar. e will have increased to 1.05 (q = 3.35 AU, 1/a = -0.015 AU**-1).
International Astronomical Union Circular
- Pub Date:
- April 1980