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168P/Hergenrother during its 2012 outburst. By Mount Lemmon Observatory.
Discovered by Carl W. Hergenrother
Discovery date November 22, 1998
P/1998 W2
P/2005 N2
Orbital characteristics A
Epoch March 6, 2006
Aphelion 5.839 AU
Perihelion 1.426 AU
Semi-major axis 3.632 AU
Eccentricity 0.6075
Orbital period 6.923 a
Inclination 21.8934°
Last perihelion October 1, 2012[1]
November 2, 2005
Next perihelion August 5, 2019[2][3]

168P/Hergenrother is a periodic comet in the solar system. The comet originally named P/1998 W2 returned in 2005 and got the temporary name P/2005 N2.[4]

The comet came to perihelion on 1 October 2012,[1] and was expected to reach about apparent magnitude 15.2, but due to an outburst the comet reached apparent magnitude 8.[5] As a result of the outburst of gas and dust, the comet was briefly more than 500 times brighter than it would have been without the outburst.[6] Images by the 2 m (79 in) Faulkes Telescope North on 26 October 2012 confirm a fragmentation event.[7] The secondary fragment was about magnitude 17. Further observations by the 8.1 m (320 in) Gemini telescope show that the comet fragmented into at least 4 parts.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Syuichi Nakano (2009-04-23). "168P/Hergenrother (NK 1778)". OAA Computing and Minor Planet Sections. Retrieved 2012-02-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "168P/Hergenrother Orbit". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 2014-06-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Syuichi Nakano (2012-07-17). "168P/Hergenrother (NK 2283)". OAA Computing and Minor Planet Sections. Retrieved 2012-10-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. IAUC 8560: recovery of comet P/1998 W2
  5. Seiichi Yoshida (2012-02-21). "168P/Hergenrother (2012)". Seiichi Yoshida's Comet Catalog. Retrieved 2012-02-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Math: (\sqrt[5]{100})^{15.2-8}\approx 758
  7. Giovanni Sostero; Nick Howes; Ernesto Guido (October 26, 2012). "Splitting event in comet 168P/Hergenrother". Remanzacco Observatory in Italy – Comets & Neo. Retrieved 2012-10-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Phil Plait (2012-11-05). "Breaking up is easy to do. If you're a comet". Bad Astronomy. Retrieved 2012-11-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Periodic comets (by number)
168P/Hergenrother Next