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The Brighter Comets in 2011:     45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková



Charts showing path of Comet (45P):   during July and early August 2011 and from mid August to November 2011       Positions of Comet (45P)


45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková

The comet Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova is expected to brighten rapidly in August as it passes to the south of the Earth. It will be observable from the southern hemisphere for about 2 weeks before getting too close to the Sun.

At its closest the comet will be 0.060 AU from the Earth, that is about 9 million kilometers away. While this is close for a comet, it is still about 24 times the distance of the moon. When it is first at magnitude 10, on the evening of August 9/10 it will be visible from New Zealand throughout the night, setting only briefly during daylight hours. For the next few nights until August 16 it will be circumpolar although low in the sky in the evening. On the 17th it will set briefly in the evening to rise again about midnight.

Over the next few days, as the comet moves north it will rise after midnight so becoming a morning object. Its elongation from the Sun will decrease as the comet moves away from the Earth towards the Sun and it will rise later in the morning to become lost in the morning twilight by about August 23.

By mid September Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova will be an 8th magnitude object rising about 90 minutes before the Sun into the dawn sky. The comet will then be slow moving in Leo, a few degrees from Regulus. By mid October it will have faded to magnitude 10.

45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková is a periodic comet discovered by Minoru Honda December 3, 1948. The comet is named after Minoru Honda, Antonín Mrkos and Ludmila Pajdušáková. The orbit is elliptical with a period of 5.252 years. The comet nucleus is estimated to be 1.6 kilometers in diameter. (Information from Wikipedia.)


Chart showing the path of Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková from 2011 August 9 to 15.

The chart presents a view looking to the south in the evening at about 8 pm. The position of the comet is marked for each evening at this time.
Stars to magnitude 7.50 are shown, with magnitudes labelled for stars brighter than magnitude 5.0.
The circle on the chart represents a field of view 5° in diameter, a fairly typical field of view for binoculars.

Path of comet 45P.


Chart showing the path of Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková from 2011 August 16 to 20.

The chart presents a view looking to the south in the morning at about 6 am. The position of the comet is marked for each morning at this time..
Stars to magnitude 7.50 are shown, with magnitudes labelled for stars brighter than magnitude 5.0.
The circle on the chart represents a field of view 5° in diameter, a fairly typical field of view for binoculars.

Path of comet 45P.

Chart prepared using GUIDE 8.0. Program produced by Project Pluto.


Positional data for 45/PHonda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková in August 2011

The upper part of the table shows the position of the comet from August 9 to 16, daily at 8 pm NZST. Also shown are distance in AU from the Sun and Earth, its magnitude, the elongation from the Sun and the constellation it is in. When it is circumpolar, the upper transit is an hour or two after midnight.
The lower part of the table shows the same data for 6 am from the morning of August 16 to August 24. From August 18 the approximate rise time at Wellington is also shown. Times will differ by a few minutes at other places in NZ.

      Date           RA      Dec    Sun    Earth   Mag   Elong  Con   
               pm  hr min   deg  '   AU     AU            deg           
    9 Aug 2011  8  22 42.7  -46 51  1.100  0.164  10.0   144.1  Gru   In sky all night
   10 Aug 2011  8  22 57.1  -51 24  1.086  0.093   9.6   139.2  Gru   Circumpolar
   11 Aug 2011  8  23 19.8  -56 55  1.072  0.083   9.2   132.9  Tuc   Circumpolar
   12 Aug 2011  8  23 59.7  -63 23  1.057  0.074   8.8   124.9  Tuc   Circumpolar
   13 Aug 2011  8  01 19.2  -69 49  1.043  0.066   8.5   114.8  Tuc   Circumpolar
   14 Aug 2011  8  03 47.4  -72 29  1.029  0.062   8.2   102.8  Hyi   Circumpolar
   15 Aug 2011  8  06 12.1  -67 08  1.014  0.060   8.0    89.4  Dor   Circumpolar
   16 Aug 2011  8  07 28.4  -57 06  1.000  0.062   8.0    76.1  Car   Circumpolar

      Date           RA      Dec    Sun    Earth   Mag   Elong  Con    Rise
               am  hr min   deg  '   AU     AU            deg          NZST
   16 Aug 2011  6  06 51.1  -63 15  1.008  0.060   8.0    83.8  Car   Circumpolar
   17 Aug 2011  6  07 47.7  -52 40  0.993  0.063   8.0    70.9  Car   Circumpolar
   18 Aug 2011  6  08 17.7  -42 37  0.979  0.069   8.0    59.6  Pup   12.49 am
   19 Aug 2011  6  08 35.7  -34 05  0.965  0.077   8.1    50.4  Pyx    2.31 am
   20 Aug 2011  6  08 47.6  -27 12  0.950  0.087   8.3    43.1  Pyx    3.22 am
   21 Aug 2011  6  08 56.0  -21 42  0.936  0.098   8.4    37.3  Pyx    4.16 am
   22 Aug 2011  6  09 02.3  -17 17  0.922  0.110   8.5    32.8  Hya    4.32 am
   23 Aug 2011  6  09 07.2  -13 43  0.907  0.122   8.6    29.3  Hya    4.43 am
   24 Aug 2011  6  09 11.1  -10 48  0.893  0.135   8.7    26.4  Hya    4.51 ma

  

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