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Friday, November 05, 2010


A "Bright" New Comet in Virgo

Earth as seen from Comet C/2010 V1 (Ikeya-Murakami), visualized in Celestia (click to embiggen)

Congratulations to Kaoru Ikeya and Shigeki Murakami, two Japanese amateurs who have discovered a new comet by visual (telescopic) observation (Kaoru Ikeya has 7 comets to his name, so he's an experienced comet hunter).

The Comet, C/2010 V1 (Ikeya-Murakami), is in Virgo. At the moment it appears to be around 2 degrees from Saturn. According to some reports it’s between magnitude 8 and 9, which should be achievable in good binoculars. The best places to see the comet are sadly in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere it is too close to the horizon and the oncoming dawn to make out. Between the 25th and the 30th the comet is between Venus and Spica.

Location of Comet C/2010 V1 (Ikeya-Murakami) as seen from the Northern Hemisphere on the morning of November 5, an hour before sunrise (click to embiggen).

An image taken by Francois Kugel is here, and an image by Josep M. Aymami is here.

Here is a stellarium file for the comet (add to the end of the ssystem.ini file)

name = C/2010 V1 Ikeya-Murakami
parent = Sun
radius = 24
oblateness = 0.0
halo = true
color = 1.0,1.0,1.0
tex_halo = star16x16.png
tex_map = nomap.png
coord_func = comet_orbit
orbit_TimeAtPericenter = 2455488.31671
orbit_PericenterDistance = 1.71541
orbit_Eccentricity = 1.0
orbit_ArgOfPericenter = 155.076
orbit_AscendingNode = 5.844
orbit_Inclination = 8.913
lighting = false
albedo = 1
sidereal_period = 365.25

Here is the celestia file, but frustratingly it gives entirely the wrong position for the comet:
"Ikeya-Murakami:C/2010 V1" "Sol"
Class "comet"
Mesh "borrelly.cms"
Texture "asteroid.jpg"
Radius 2.2

#InfoURL "http://www.solarviews.com/eng/borrelly.htm"

#Epoch 2455505.5
Epoch 2455488.31671 # 2010 Oct. 18.817 UT
Period 5.49
SemiMajorAxis 3.11206192
Eccentricity 1.0
Inclination 8.913
AscendingNode 5.844
ArgOfPericenter 155.076
#MeanAnomaly 358.956091

Period 25
Inclination 90
AscendingNode 315

Albedo 0.04

Black and White map suitable for printing, click to embiggen.

MPEC files and imaging maps are over at my GRAS blog.

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