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Comet 8P/Tuttle
Discovered by Horace Parnell Tuttle
Discovery date January 5, 1858
1790 II; 1858 I; 1871 III;
1885 IV; 1899 III; 1912 IV;
1926 IV; 1939 X; 1967 V;
1980 XIII; 1994 XV
Orbital characteristics A
Epoch January 15, 2008
Aphelion 10.376340 AU
Perihelion 1.027132 AU
Semi-major axis 5.701737 AU
Eccentricity 0.819856
Orbital period 13.6 a
Inclination 54.9830°
Last perihelion January 27, 2008
Next perihelion August 27, 2021[1][2]

8P/Tuttle (also known as Tuttle's Comet or Comet Tuttle) is a periodic comet in the Solar System. It fits the classical definition of a Jupiter-family comet with an orbital period of less than 20 years, but does not fit the modern definition of (2 < TJupiter< 3).[3] Perihelion was late January 2008, and as of February was visible telescopically to Southern Hemisphere observers in the constellation Eridanus. On December 30, 2007 it was in close conjunction with spiral galaxy M33. On January 1, 2008 it passed Earth at a distance of 0.25282 AU (37,821,000 km; 23,501,000 mi).[4]

Comet 8P/Tuttle is responsible for the Ursid meteor shower in late December.[5]

Predictions that the 2007 Ursid meteor shower could be expected to be stronger than usual due to the return of the comet,[6] did not appear to materialize, as counts were in the range of normal distribution.

Contact binary[edit]

Radar observations of Comet Tuttle in January 2008 by the Arecibo Observatory show it to be a contact binary.[7][8] The comet nucleus is estimated at about 4.5 km in diameter, using the equivalent diameter of a sphere having a volume equal to the sum of a 3 km and 4 km sphere.[3]

Additional images[edit]


  1. ^ Patrick Rocher (2008-06-10). "Note number : 0105 P/Tuttle : 8P". Institut de mecanique celeste et de calcul des ephemerides. Retrieved 2012-02-19. 
  2. ^ 8P/Tuttle past, present and future orbits on Kazuo Kinoshita's home page
  3. ^ a b "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 8P/Tuttle". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 2008-06-06 last obs. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  4. ^ "JPL Close-Approach Data: 8P/Tuttle". 2008-06-06 last obs. Retrieved 2007-11-04. 
  5. ^ Meteor Streams
  6. ^ http://ursid.seti.org/WGNUrsids.pdf
  7. ^ Govert Schilling (2008-10-14). "Comet Tuttle's Split Personality". Science AAAS. Archived from the original on 25 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  8. ^ J. K. Harmon, M. C. Nolan, E. S. Howell, and J. D. Giorgini (2008). "COMET 8P/TUTTLE: ARECIBO RADAR OBSERVATIONS OF THE FIRST BILOBATE COMET". Lunar and Planetary Institute. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 

External links[edit]

Periodic comets (by number)
8P/Tuttle Next