76P/West–Kohoutek–Ikemura

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76P/West–Kohoutek–Ikemura
Discovery
Discovered by Richard M. West at the European Southern Observatory Sky Atlas Laboratory, Geneva, Lubos Kohoutek at the Hamburg Observatory, Germany and Toshihiko Ikemura in Shinshiro, Japan
Discovery date January-March 1975
Orbital characteristics A
Epoch 2014-Dec-9
Aphelion 5.345 AU
Perihelion 1.6012 AU
Semi-major axis 3.4707 AU
Eccentricity 0.5387
Orbital period 6.48 yr
Inclination 30.48°
Last perihelion 7 May 2013
Next perihelion 26 Oct 2019

76P/West–Kohoutek–Ikemura is a Jupiter-family periodic comet in the Solar System with a current orbital period of 6.48 years. [1] [2]

The comet was initially spotted on a photographic plate by Richard M. West at the European Southern Observatory Sky Atlas Laboratory, Geneva in January 1975, when it had a brightness of magnitude 12. Inability to predict its movement from a single image meant the comet had to be presumed lost.

In late February it was accidentally rediscovered by Lubos Kohoutek at the Hamburg Observatory, Germany and independently on 1 March by Toshihiko Ikemura in Shinshiro, Japan. After further observations the comets parabolic orbit was computed, which gave a perihelion date of 23 March 1975 and proved that all three sightings were of the same object, which was accordingly designated 76P/West–Kohoutek–Ikemura.

Further calculations by Brian G. Marsden determined the comet's elliptical orbit and revealed that it had passed only 0.012 AU from Jupiter on 22 March 1972. This close approach had reduced its orbital frequency from some 30 years to the current 6.48 years and its perihelion distance from 4.78 AU to 1.60 AU.

The comet has been observed at its successive returns in 1987, 1993, 2000, 2006 and 2013.

See also

References

  1. "76P/West-Kohoutek-Ikemura". Retrieved 25 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Elements and Ephemeris for 76P/West-Kohoutek-Ikemura". International Astronomical Union. Retrieved 25 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Periodic comets (by number)
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