C/1980 E1

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C/1980 E1 (Bowell)
Discovered by Edward L. G. Bowell
Discovery date 11 February 1980
C/1980 E1
Orbital characteristics A
Epoch JD 2444972.5
(3 January 1982)
Perihelion 3.3639 AU[1]
Eccentricity 1.057[1] (hyperbolic trajectory)
1.053 (epoch 1984+)[2]
Orbital period ~7.1 million years (epoch 1950)[2]
Ejection (epoch 1977+)[2]
Inclination 1.6617°
Last perihelion 12 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 a higher velocity than any other natural object ever observed.

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 December 9, 1980, it passed within 0.228 AU of Jupiter,[3] which accelerated the comet briefly giving an (epoch 1981-Jan-09) eccentricity of 1.066.[2] The comet came to perihelion on March 12, 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 negative semimajor axis, giving them a positive orbital energy. The Minor Planet Center does not directly list a semimajor axis for this comet.[4]

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.[5]

The production of OH (hydroxide) was observed pre-perihelion while the comet was nearly 5 AU from the Sun.[6] 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.

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  1. ^ a b c d "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: C/1980 E1 (Bowell)" (last observation: 1986-12-30). Retrieved 2015-09-26. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Horizons output. "Barycentric Osculating Orbital Elements for Comet C/1980 E1". Retrieved 2011-03-09.  (Solution using the Solar System Barycenter and barycentric coordinates. Select Ephemeris Type:Elements and Center:@0)
  3. ^ "JPL Close-Approach Data: C/1980 E1 (Bowell)" (last observation: 1986-12-30). Retrieved 2015-09-26. 
  4. ^ "C/1980 E1 (Bowell) Orbit at the Minor Planet Center". Retrieved 2015-09-28. 
  5. ^ Yeomans, Donald K.; Chamberlin, Alan B. "Horizons Ephemeris". JPL Solar System Dynamics. Retrieved 2011-02-22. 
  6. ^ 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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