Headlines > News > Ikeya-Murakami: The New Comet on the Cosmic Block

Ikeya-Murakami: The New Comet on the Cosmic Block

Published by Matt on Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:07 am via: NASA
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Comet Ikeya-Murakami was discovered very recently on Nov. 3, 2010, by Japanese amateur astronomers Kaoru Ikeya and Shigeki Murakami. Their discovery is unusual because they both used manual observations through optical telescopes to identify the comet. Such observation is rare in recent times when astronomers use cutting-edge digital imaging to study the skies.

Comet Ikeya-Murakami, seen on Nov. 13, 2010. Credit: NASA/MSFC/R. Suggs

Comet Ikeya-Murakami, seen on Nov. 13, 2010. Credit: NASA/MSFC/R. Suggs

Ikeya-Murakami is classified as a long-period comet, or those comets having eccentric orbits ranging from 200 years millions of years to make one circuit around the sun.

The animation below shows the motion of Comet Ikeya-Murakami on Nov. 13, 2010, captured with a New Mexico-based telescope operated remotely by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The images were taken near dawn and show the comet’s movement over a period of 45 minutes. Each exposure was three minutes in length, and the faint angled streak around 0:10 in the animation is a satellite trail. At the time of these images, the comet was some 229 million miles away from Earth.

2 Comments
Wonderful! It is fantastic to see that we are still finding new things in our own cosmic backyard, so to speak!
And with just a couple of guys sitting with a telescope in their backyard (more or less). Very old school.
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