Friday, March 4, 2016

Periodic Comet P/2016 BA14 (PANSTARRS)

Discovered recently by the PANSTARRS survey, P/2016 BA14 will set a record for the third closest approaching comet of all time on March 24th. It will brighten from its current magnitude of 18 to about Mag 13. Sadly, it will pass outside Earth's orbit so there shouldn't be any meteor shower activity as the tail (what there is of it - not much as you can see) will be pointing away from us from what I can tell from the orbit diagram.

What I find most fascinating about this object, is that it crosses the plane of the solar system, very near earth, almost at its perihelion. Also of interest is the periodic comet 252P/Linear which has a very similar orbit. The super sleuth astronomer detectives will be onto that, I'm sure. Of course I'm not qualified to comment on such things, but I'm thinking .... Hhhmm ...If two asteroids departed the plane of the solar system from a point "near Earth", did something happen to them if they were both there at the same time. Yes I know, we are talking comets here and comets normally come from the Oort Cloud at any angle, but its really interesting to contemplate. Am I allowed to call "dibs" for a future PHD that I may get around to doing one day ;-)

That's why science is so much fun, you get to ask questions like that and go and work it out.

Tonight's data:
COD Q62
OBS P. B. Lake
NET PPMXL
PK16B14A C2016 03 03.43620 05 51 24.42 -34 16 10.7 18.4 N Q62
PK16B14A C2016 03 03.43801 05 51 24.54 -34 16 08.7 18.3 N Q62
PK16B14A C2016 03 03.43976 05 51 24.62 -34 16 06.7 18.5 N Q62
PK16B14A C2016 03 03.44150 05 51 24.72 -34 16 04.9 18.4 N Q62
PK16B14A C2016 03 03.44324 05 51 24.83 -34 16 02.8 18.2 N Q62
PK16B14A C2016 03 03.44498 05 51 24.95 -34 16 01.1 18.3 N Q62
PK16B14A C2016 03 03.44672 05 51 25.05 -34 15 58.9 18.2 N Q62
PK16B14A C2016 03 03.44860 05 51 25.15 -34 15 56.9 18.3 N Q62
PK16B14A C2016 03 03.45035 05 51 25.26 -34 15 55.1 18.3 N Q62
PK16B14A C2016 03 03.45209 05 51 25.35 -34 15 53.2 18.2 N Q62
PK16B14A C2016 03 03.45383 05 51 25.47 -34 15 51.0 18.3 N Q62
PK16B14A C2016 03 03.45557 05 51 25.57 -34 15 49.2 18.4 N Q62

Looking forward to a nice telescopic show late in the month whilst we are at NACAA.

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