Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Asteroids named after Thomas Pynchon & Stabia

Since 2005, during my work on comets and asteroids, I discovered a number of asteroids. Recently I submitted name proposals for a couple of my discoveries. Names for minor planets are proposed by the discoverer of a specific object after the object is numbered. Proposals are accompanied by a brief citation explaining the reasons for the naming (see here for more info about the procedure).

Suggested names were submitted to Minor Planet Center and approved by the Committee for Small Body Nomenclature (CSBN) of the IAU (International Astronomical Union).

The Minor Planet Circular MPC 85415- 85916 issued on November 20, 2013 announces that asteroid 152319 (2005 UH7) is now officially named "Pynchon" and the asteroid 152481 (2005 WY57) is now officially named "Stabia". I choosed asteroid "Pynchon" to honor great American novelist Thomas Pynchon known almost exclusively through his writing, dense and complex. While asteroid "Stabia" honors the city of Castellammare di Stabia in Italy where I was born.

The official citations for the asteroids read:

(152319) Pynchon = 2005 UH7
Discovered 2005 Oct. 29 by E. Guido at Mayhill.
Thomas R. Pynchon, Jr. (b. 1937) is an American novelist. He was the winner of the 1974 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction for his most celebrated novel, Gravity’s Rainbow.


(152481) Stabia = 2005 WY57
Discovered 2005 Nov. 30 by E. Guido at Mayhill.
Castellammare di Stabia is a city in southern Italy. The city is located close to the ancient Roman town of Stabiae, which was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE.

Asteroid "Pynchon" resides in the Main Asteroid Belt, between Mars and Jupiter, of the Solar System; with an estimated size about 2 km - 4 km, it takes 4.10 years to complete a revolution around the Sun.

Asteroid "Stabia" resides in the Main Asteroid Belt, between Mars and Jupiter, of the Solar System; with an estimated size about 3 km - 6 km, it takes 5.55 years to complete a revolution around the Sun.

On the JPL website you can find a 3D orbit visualization tool for (152319) Pynchon and for (152481) Stabia.

Click on the image below to see a snippet from MPC 85415- 85916.
 

 Click on the images below to see the orbit of asteroids "Pynchon" and "Stabia"

Credit: JPL Small-Body Database

Credit: JPL Small-Body Database


by Ernesto Guido

Friday, November 15, 2013

New Comet: C/2013 V5 (OUKAIMEDEN)

Cbet nr. 3713, issued on 2013, November 15, announces the discovery of an apparently asteroidal object (discovery magnitude ~19.4) by Michel Ory on CCD images obtained with a 0.5-m f/3 reflector at the Oukaimeden Observatory, Marrakech. The object has been found to show cometary appearance by CCD astrometrists elsewhere. The new comet has been designated C/2013 V5 (OUKAIMEDEN).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 58 unfiltered exposures, 30-sec each, obtained remotely from MPC code Q62 (iTelescope, Siding Spring) on 2013, November 12.6 through a 0.43-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD, shows that this object is a comet: diffuse coma about 10" in diameter elongated toward PA 300.

Below our confirmation image. Click here for a bigger version.


M.P.E.C. 2013-V95 assigns the following parabolic orbital elements to comet C/2013 V5: T 2014 Sept. 27.93; e= 1.0; Peri. = 314.39; q = 0.62;  Incl.= 154.92

According to the preliminary ephemeris, comet C/2013 V5 (OUKAIMEDEN) could reach magnitude ~5.5 in mid-September 2014. Below you can see a graph generated using the software Orbitas and showing the predicted magnitude (in red) versus the elongation (click on the image for a bigger version). A word of caution: as always with comets, the future magnitudes reported here are only indicative.  


by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

Friday, November 8, 2013

New Comet: C/2013 V3 (NEVSKI)

Cbet nr. 3695, issued on 2013, November 08, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~15.1) by Vitali Nevski on four 180-s CCD exposures obtained on Nov. 7 with a 0.2-m f/1.5 reflector (and confirmed with images taken using a 0.4-m f/3 reflector) at the ISON-Kislovodsk observatory near Kislovodsk, Russia. The new comet has been designated C/2013 V3 (NEVSKI).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 19 unfiltered exposures, 30-sec each, obtained remotely from MPC code H06 (iTelescope, New Mexico) on 2013, November 07.3 through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer, shows that this object is a comet: diffuse coma about 18" in diameter elongated toward PA 275 deg.

Below our confirmation image. Click on it for a bigger version.


M.P.E.C. 2013-V45 assigns the following preliminary parabolic orbital elements to comet C/2013 V3: T 2013 Oct. 23.58; e= 1.0; Peri. = 332.77; q = 1.34;  Incl.= 29.44

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

New Comet: C/2013 V2 (BORISOV)

Cbet nr. 3694, issued on 2013, November 08, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~16.9) by G. Borisov on three CCD images taken with a 0.2-m f/1.5 astrograph on Nov. 6. The new comet has been designated C/2013 V2 (BORISOV).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 12 unfiltered exposures, 120-sec each, obtained remotely from MPC code H06 (iTelescope, New Mexico) on 2013, November 06.3 through a 0.43-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer, shows that this object is a comet: diffuse coma about 15" in diameter.

Below our confirmation image. Click on it for a bigger version.


M.P.E.C. 2013-V43 assigns the following preliminary parabolic orbital elements to comet C/2013 V2: T 2014 Oct. 6.00; e= 1.0; Peri. = 87.46; q = 3.80;  Incl.= 39.27


by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

The Multi-Tailed Main-Belt Comet P/2013 P5

Cbet nr. 3639, issued on 2013, August 27, announced the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~20.9) in CCD exposures obtained on August 15 by the Pan-STARRS1 telescope on Haleakala. The new comet has been designated P/2013 P5 (PANSTARRS). According to the description in the CBET, the object has a nuclear condensation with a stellar appearance and a thin tail that extends for approximately 30" towards position angle approximately 255 degrees.

Orbiting at the inner edge of the main asteroid belt, with semimajor axis, eccentricity and inclination of 2.189 AU, 0.115 and 5.0° , respectively, the Tisserand parameter relative to Jupiter is TJ = 3.66. So this object belongs to the newly recognized class of body in the solar system known as active asteroids or  main-belt comet - MBC. These objects are remarkable for having both the orbital characteristics of asteroids and the physical characteristics of comets: they look like comets because they show comae and tails but they have orbits interior to Jupiter's and Tisserand parameters substantially larger than 3, like asteroids. While some are suspected to contain water ice whose sublimation is responsible for the expulsion of dust, others are impact-produced while, for a majority, the origin is unknown. (see also our previous post about P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS) & 596 Scheila).

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have imaged P/2013 P5 on UT 2013 Sep 10 and 23, obtaining a total of 12 images with the WFC3 camera.  It has no less than six dust tails that seem to be forming sequentially. 

As an inner-belt asteroid and probable Flora family member, the object is likely to be highly metamorphosed and unlikely to contain ice. The protracted period of dust release appears inconsistent with an impact origin, but may be compatible with a body that is losing mass through a rotational instability. We suggest that P/2013 P5 has been accelerated to breakup speed by radiation torques.

You can read the full Hubble release here or the paper based on these observations here on Arxiv. Below you can see the Hubble images (click on it for a bigger version).

Credits: NASA, ESA, and D. Jewitt (UCLA)

Credits: NASA, ESA, and D. Jewitt (UCLA)

While below there is a summary of the main properties of active asteroid P/2013 P5 as outlined in the paper by Jewitt et al.


We performed follow-up measurements of this object on November 07. Stacking of 16 R-filtered exposures, 120-sec each, obtained remotely from MPC code E10 (Faulkes Telescope South) on 2013, November 07.4 through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD (operated by Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network), shows a thin tail 25" long in PA 75 (magnitude ~21).

Below our follow-up image of P/2013 P5. Click on it for a bigger version.



by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Comet: C/2013 V1 (BOATTINI)

Cbet nr. 3689, issued on 2013, November 06, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude ~15.6) by A. Boattini on CCD images obtained with the Catalina Sky Survey's 0.68-m Schmidt telescope. The new comet has been designated C/2013 V1 (BOATTINI).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 3 R-filtered exposures, 20-sec each, obtained remotely from MPC code Q62 (iTelescope Observatory, Siding Spring) on 2013, November 05.75 through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer, shows that this object is a comet: diffuse coma about 18" in diameter.

We imaged again this object on 2013, November 06.35 remotely from MPC code H06 (iTelescope Observatory, New Mexico) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer. The comet is showing a nice curved tail ~1' long in p.a. 240 deg.

Below our image of November 06. Click on it for a bigger version.


M.P.E.C. 2013-V32 assigns the following preliminary parabolic orbital elements to comet C/2013 V1: T 2014 Apr. 8.42; e= 1.0; Peri. = 50.83; q = 1.50;  Incl.= 62.39

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini