Comet Humason

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There is another long-period comet named Humason: C/1960 M1 (a.k.a. 1959 X, 1960e).

Comet Humason, formally designated C/1961 R1 (a.k.a. 1962 VIII and 1961e), was a non-periodic comet discovered by Milton L. Humason on September 1, 1961. Its perihelion was well beyond the orbit of Mars, at 2.133 AU. Its period is 2940 years, and the diameter of its nucleus estimated at about 41 km.

It was a 'giant' comet, much more active than a normal comet for its distance to the Sun, with an absolute magnitude of +1.5, a hundred times brighter than an average new comet. It had an unusually disrupted or 'turbulent' appearance.[1] It was also unusual in that the spectrum of its tail showed a strong predominance of the ion CO+, a result previously seen unambiguously only in Comet Morehouse (C/1908 R1).[2]


  1. Brandt & Chapman, Introduction to Comets, Cambridge University Press, 2004, p.156
  2. Huebner, W. Physics and chemistry of comets, Springer-Verlag, 1990, p.246