168P/Hergenrother during its 2012 outburst. By Mount Lemmon Observatory.
|Discovered by||Carl W. Hergenrother|
|Discovery date||November 22, 1998|
|Orbital characteristics A|
|Epoch||March 6, 2006|
|Semi-major axis||3.632 AU|
|Orbital period||6.923 a|
|Earth MOID||0.4 AU (60 million km)|
|Last perihelion||October 1, 2012|
November 2, 2005
|Next perihelion||August 5, 2019|
168P/Hergenrother is a periodic comet in the Solar System. The comet originally named P/1998 W2 returned in 2005 and got the temporary name P/2005 N2. The comet was last observed in February 2013, and may have continued fragmenting after the 2012 outburst.
The comet came to perihelion on 1 October 2012, and was expected to reach about apparent magnitude 15.2, but due to an outburst the comet reached apparent magnitude 8. As a result of the outburst of gas and dust, the comet was briefly more than 500 times brighter than it would have been without the outburst. On 19 October 2012, images by the Virtual Telescope Project showed a dust cloud trailing the nucleus. Images by the 2 m (79 in) Faulkes Telescope North on 26 October 2012 confirm a fragmentation event. The secondary fragment was about magnitude 17. Further observations by the 8.1 m (320 in) Gemini telescope show that the comet fragmented into at least four parts.
168P came to perihelion around August 5, 2019, when it was expected to be 76 degrees from the Sun. 168P has not yet been recovered and may have disintegrated. During this perihelion passage 168P will make a closest approach to Earth in early November 2019 when it will be 1 AU (150 million km) from Earth with a solar elongation of about 110 degrees.
- Syuichi Nakano (2009-04-23). "168P/Hergenrother (NK 1778)". OAA Computing and Minor Planet Sections. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
- "168P/Hergenrother Orbit". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- Syuichi Nakano (2012-07-17). "168P/Hergenrother (NK 2283)". OAA Computing and Minor Planet Sections. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
- IAUC 8560: recovery of comet P/1998 W2
- Seiichi Yoshida (2012-02-21). "168P/Hergenrother (2012)". Seiichi Yoshida's Comet Catalog. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
- Gianluca Masi (October 19, 2012). "Comet 168P/Hergenrother: hi-res images (19 Oct. 2012)". Virtual Telescope Project. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
- Giovanni Sostero; Nick Howes; Ernesto Guido (October 26, 2012). "Splitting event in comet 168P/Hergenrother". Remanzacco Observatory in Italy – Comets & Neo. Retrieved 2012-10-28.
- Phil Plait (2012-11-05). "Breaking up is easy to do. If you're a comet". Bad Astronomy. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- Orbital simulation from JPL (Java) / Horizons Ephemeris
- 168P on Seiichi Yoshida's comet list
- Elements and Ephemeris for 168P/Hergenrother – Minor Planet Center
- 168P at Kronk's Cometography
- Comet 168P Hergenrother in outburst (Google+ chat archive Oct 12, 2012)
- Comet Hergenrother in Outburst (Carl Hergenrother : 20 Oct 2012)
- Comet 168P and fragment as seen by Kitt Peak WIYN 3.5-metre (140 in) on 30 Oct 2012
- Scientists Monitor Comet Breakup (168P-Hergenrother was imaged by the NOAO/Gemini telescope Nov. 2, 2012)
- Temporal Correlation Between Outbursts and Fragmentation Events of Comet 168P/Hergenrother (arXiv:1409.7641 : 26 Sep 2014)
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