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Discovered by Robert G. Harrington at Palomar Observatory
Discovery date 14 August 1953
Orbital characteristics A
Epoch 2015-08-06
(JD 2457240.5)
Aphelion 5.729 AU (Q)
Perihelion 1.699 AU (q)
Semi-major axis 3.714 AU (a)
Eccentricity 0.5424
Orbital period 7.16 yr
Inclination 5.42°
Last perihelion 12 August 2015[1]
18 June 2008
Next perihelion 2022-Oct-01[2]

51P/Harrington is a periodic comet in the Solar System.

It was discovered by Robert George Harrington at Palomar Observatory on 14 August 1953 using the Schmidt telescope. It then had a brightness of magnitude 15. In October 1956 its orbit was affected by the planet Jupiter and on its next return in 1960 the brightness had fallen to magnitude 20. By 1980 it had slightly improved to magnitude 18. It has a period of approximately 7 years.

In 1987 and 1994 brightness had significantly increased to magnitude 12. In 1994 Jim Scotti at Kitt Peak Observatory observed that the comet had broken up and that two detached pieces were accompanying the main body, which explained the improvement in the brightness. By 2001 further splitting had occurred.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Seiichi Yoshida (2016-05-14). "51P/Harrington". Seiichi Yoshida's Comet Catalog. Retrieved 2017-02-26. 
  2. ^ MPC
  • Mobberley, Martin. Hunting and Imaging Comets.  Google Books

External links[edit]

Numbered comets
51P/Harrington Next