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Discovered by William Henry Finlay
Discovery date September 26, 1886
1886 S1; 1886 VII;
1886e; 1893 K1;
1893 III; 1893a;
1906 V; 1906d;
1919 II; 1919d;
1926 V; 1926d;
1953 VII; 1953i;
1960 VIII; 1960d;
1967 IX; 1967g;
1974 X; 1974d;
1981 XII; 1981e;
1988 IX; 1988f
Orbital characteristics A
Epoch February 15, 2002 (JD )
Aphelion 6.1097 AU
Perihelion 1.0341 AU
Semi-major axis 3.57 AU
Eccentricity 0.7105
Orbital period 6.7507 a
Inclination 3.674°
Last perihelion June 22, 2008
Next perihelion December 27, 2014[1][2][3]

Comet Finlay is a periodic comet in the solar system discovered by William Henry Finlay (Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa) on September 26, 1886. It will next come to perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on December 27, 2014,[2] when it is expected to reach about apparent magnitude 10.[4]

When the first parabolic orbit calculations were made in 1886, there was a similarity between this orbit and that of Francesco de Vico's lost periodic comet of 1844 (54P/de Vico-Swift-NEAT). Lewis Boss (Dudley Observatory, Schenectady, USA) noted large discrepancies between the orbits and after further observations concluded that de Vico's comet could not be the same as Finlay's.

The 1899 approach was missed, in 1910 a close pass with Jupiter increased the orbital period, in 1919 the path was off predictions and a "new" comet discovered by Sasaki (Kyoto Observatory, Japan) on October 25, 1919 was in fact discovered to be Finlay's.

The magnitude of the comet declined after 1926, and it was not until 1953 that it has been observed on every return.

On 27 October 2060 the comet will pass 0.048 AU (7,200,000 km; 4,500,000 mi) from the Earth.[5]


  1. ^ "15P/Finlay Orbit". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  2. ^ a b Syuichi Nakano (2011-11-05). "15P/Finlay (NK 2161)". OAA Computing and Minor Planet Sections. Retrieved 2012-02-18. 
  3. ^ Patrick Rocher (2009-03-20). "Note number : 0094 P/Finlay : 15P". Institut de mecanique celeste et de calcul des ephemerides. Retrieved 2012-02-19. 
  4. ^ Seiichi Yoshida (2010-07-31). "15P/Finlay (2014)". Seiichi Yoshida's Comet Catalog. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  5. ^ "JPL Close-Approach Data: 15P/Finlay". 2009-03-20 last obs. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 

External links[edit]

Periodic comets (by number)
15P/Finlay Next