C/1980 E1 (Bowell)

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C/1980 E1 (Bowell)
C1980 E1-orbit.png
Hyperbolic path with annual motion
Discovered byEdward L. G. Bowell
Discovery date11 February 1980
C/1980 E1
Orbital characteristics A
EpochJD 2444972.5
(3 January 1982)
Perihelion3.3639 AU[1]
Eccentricity1.057[1] (hyperbolic trajectory)
1.053 (epoch 1984+)[2]
Orbital period~7.1 million years (epoch 1950)[2]
Ejection (epoch 1977+)[2]
Last perihelion12 March 1982[1]

C/1980 E1 is a non-periodic comet discovered by Edward L. G. Bowell on 11 February 1980. C/1980 E1 is leaving the Solar System on a hyperbolic trajectory with only 1I/ʻOumuamua being on a faster hyperbolic trajectory.[3]

Before entering the inner Solar System for a 1982 perihelion passage, C/1980 E1 had a barycentric (epoch 1950-Jan-01) orbit with an aphelion of 74,300 AU (1.17 light-years), and a period of approximately 7.1 million years.[2]

As the comet was approaching perihelion on 9 December 1980, it passed within 0.228 AU of Jupiter,[4] which accelerated the comet briefly giving an (epoch 1981-Jan-09) eccentricity of 1.066.[2] The comet came to perihelion on 12 March 1982,[1] when it had a velocity of 23.3 km/s (52,000 mph) with respect to the Sun. Since the epoch of 1977-Mar-04, C/1980 E1 has had a barycentric eccentricity greater than 1,[2] keeping it on a hyperbolic trajectory that will eject it from the Solar System. Objects in hyperbolic orbits have a negative semimajor axis, giving them a positive orbital energy. The Minor Planet Center does not directly list a semimajor axis for this comet.[5]

Eccentricity vs time

By May 1995, the comet was 30 AU from the Sun on an ejection trajectory going 8.6 km/s (19,000 mph). Since February 2008, the comet has been more than 50 AU from the Sun.[6]

The production of OH (hydroxide) was observed pre-perihelion while the comet was nearly 5 AU from the Sun.[7] CN (cyanide) was not detected until the comet was near perihelion. The comet nucleus was estimated to have a radius of several kilometers. The surface crust was probably a few meters thick.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: C/1980 E1 (Bowell)" (last observation: 1986-12-30). Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Horizons output. "Barycentric Osculating Orbital Elements for Comet C/1980 E1". Retrieved 9 March 2011. (Solution using the Solar System Barycenter and barycentric coordinates. Select Ephemeris Type:Elements and Center:@0)
  3. ^ de la Fuente Marcos, Carlos; de la Fuente Marcos, Raúl (1 November 2017). "Pole, Pericenter, and Nodes of the Interstellar Minor Body A/2017 U1". Research Notes of the AAS. 1 (1): 9 (2 pages). arXiv:1711.00445. Bibcode:2017RNAAS...1a...5D. doi:10.3847/2515-5172/aa96b4.
  4. ^ "JPL Close-Approach Data: C/1980 E1 (Bowell)" (last observation: 1986-12-30). Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  5. ^ "C/1980 E1 (Bowell) Orbit at the Minor Planet Center". Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  6. ^ Yeomans, Donald K.; Chamberlin, Alan B. "Horizons Ephemeris". JPL Solar System Dynamics. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  7. ^ Ahearn, Michael F.; Schleicher, D. G.; Millis, R. L.; Feldman, P. D.; Thompson, D. T. (1984). "Comet Bowell 1980b". Astronomical Journal. 89: 579–591. Bibcode:1984AJ.....89..579A. doi:10.1086/113552.

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