Recent Discoveries – Sept 16-17, 2010

The discoveries keep rolling in as the prime discovery surveys continue to enjoy clear skies. The number of new finds should start tailing off soon as the moon approaches Full. When bright moonlight battles faint asteroids, the faint guys usually lose out.

The La Sagra Survey of Spain have reported their 4th comet discovery (all in the past 2 years). Comet La Sagra is a short-period comet with a very asteroidal orbit. In fact, the orbit is smack in the middle of the Main Belt of asteroids making this comet one of the few known Main Belt comets (MBC). This type of comet represents a intermediate state between usually dry asteroids and icy comets. The rapidly increasing number of MBCs means that many asteroids (especially in the mid- to outer-belt) still retain some volatiles that occasionally sublimate to produce cometary activity. At 18-19th magnitude this comet is not expected to get brighter and should fade as it moves away from the Sun and Earth. The comet was discovered with La Sagra’s CCD-equipped 0.45-m (18″) reflector.

2010 RC130 will brighten up to magnitude 15.0 on October 3 as it closes to within ~10 times Lunar Distance.

Asteroid    Type     MOID     a     e     i     H  Mag  Discoverer      MPEC
2010 SJ     Aten    0.050   0.92  0.17  11.5  23.3  19  Catalina        2010-S14
2010 SH     Amor    0.150   1.58  0.31  23.1  23.2  20  Mount Lemmon    2010-S13
2010 SF     Aten    0.014   0.84  0.22   9.4  25.6  18  Catalina        2010-S09
2010 SE     Apollo  0.008   1.05  0.29  20.2  24.1  18  Catalina        2010-S08
2010 SD     Apollo  0.021   1.36  0.40   3.4  24.8  19  Mount Lemmon    2010-S07
2010 SC     Amor    0.025   1.56  0.34   3.3  26.0  20  Mount Lemmon    2010-S06
2010 SB     Amor    0.208   2.90  0.59   7.5  21.9  20  Mount Lemmon    2010-S05
2010 RK135  Amor    0.056   2.46  0.57   4.5  25.6  21  Mount Lemmon    2010-S12
2010 RD130  Apollo  0.024   1.99  0.55   2.2  25.3  21  Mount Lemmon    2010-S04
2010 RC130  Apollo  0.032   2.45  0.58   9.2  21.6  18  LINEAR          2010-S03
2010 RB130  Amor    0.020   2.15  0.52   1.0  24.1  18  Catalina        2010-S02

Comet       Type       T        q     a     e     i  Mag  Period MPEC
P/2010 R2 (La Sagra)
            MBC   2010-06-25  2.62  3.10  0.15  21.4  18   5.46  2010-S11

Type
Aten -  Earth crossing with semi-major axis (avg distance from Sun) < 1 AU
Apollo - Earth crossing with semi-major axis (avg distance from Sun) > 1 AU
Amor - non-Earth crossing with perihelion distance < 1.3 AU
JFC - Jupiter family comet
HFC - Halley family comet
LPC - Long-period comet
MBC - Main belt comet

T - Date of Perihelion
MOID - Minimum Orbit Intercept Distance, minimum distance between asteroid and Earth's orbit
a - semi-major axis, average distance from Sun in AU (1 AU = 93 million miles)
e - eccentricity
i - inclination
H - absolute magnitude
Mag - magnitude at discovery
Discoverer - survey or person who discovered the object
MPEC - Minor Planet Electronic Circular, the discovery announcement

About Carl Hergenrother
I am a professional astronomer specializing in the study of comets, asteroids and meteors. This blog will focus on my professional and amateur work in this field

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