C/2013 US10 (Catalina)

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C/2013 US10 (Catalina)
C/2013 US10 as seen on 9 Dec 2015. To the upper left is the ion gas tail and to the lower right is the dust tail.
Discovered byCatalina Sky Survey (703)[1][2]
Discovery date31 October 2013
Orbital characteristics
Epoch4 December 2015[3]
Observation arc4.26 years
Number of
Orbit typeOort cloud
Aphelion~38000 AU (inbound)[4]
Perihelion0.8229 AU (q)[3]
1.000+ (heliocentric epoch 2475–2500)[5]
Orbital periodseveral million years inbound (barycentric solution for epoch 1950)[4]
Ejection trajectory outbound
(barycentric solution for epoch 2050)[4]
Last perihelion15 November 2015[3]
Jupiter MOID1.13 AU

C/2013 US10 (Catalina) is an Oort cloud comet discovered on 31 October 2013 by the Catalina Sky Survey at an apparent magnitude of 19 using a 0.68-meter (27 in) Schmidt–Cassegrain telescope.[1] From September 2015 to February 2016 the comet was around apparent magnitude 6.[6] The comet took around a million years to complete half an orbit from its furthest distance in the Oort cloud and should be ejected from the Solar System over many millions of years.


When discovered on 31 October 2013 observations from another object from 12 September 2013 were used in the preliminary orbit determination giving an incorrect solution that suggested an orbital period of only 6 years.[1] But by 6 November 2013 a longer observation arc from 14 August until 4 November made it apparent that the first solution had the wrong object from 12 September.[2]

By early May 2015 the comet was around apparent magnitude 12 and had an elongation of 60 degrees from the Sun as it moved further into the southern hemisphere.[7] The comet came to solar conjunction on 6 November 2015 when the comet was around magnitude 6.[6] The comet came to perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on 15 November 2015 at a distance of 0.82 AU from the Sun.[3] At perihelion, it had a velocity of 46.4 km/s (104,000 mph) with respect to the Sun which is slightly greater than the Sun's escape velocity at that distance. It crossed the celestial equator on 17 December 2015 becoming a northern hemisphere object. On 17 January 2016 the comet passed 0.72 AU (108,000,000 km; 67,000,000 mi) from Earth and was around magnitude 6[6] while located in the constellation of Ursa Major.[8]

C/2013 US10 closest Earth approach on 2016-Jan-17 05:25 UT
Date & time of
closest approach
Earth distance
Sun distance
wrt Earth
wrt Sun
2016-01-17 05:25 0.7247 AU (108.41 million km; 67.37 million mi; 282.0 LD) 1.388 AU (207.6 million km; 129.0 million mi; 540 LD) 59.0 35.8 ± 125 km Horizons

C/2013 US10 is dynamically new. It came from the Oort cloud with a loosely bound chaotic orbit that was easily perturbed by galactic tides and passing stars. Before entering the planetary region (epoch 1950), C/2013 US10 had an orbital period of several million years.[4] After leaving the planetary region (epoch 2050), it will be on an ejection trajectory.[4] The Sun's escape velocity at 200 AU is 2.98 km/s[9] and the comet will be going 3.0 km/s at 200 AU from the Sun.[10]

C/2013 US10 distance and velocity compared to the Sun with a 400 year stepsize[11]
Date Sun distance
wrt Sun
1615-11-15 304.0 AU (45.48 billion km; 28.26 billion mi) 2.40 ± 3 million km
Perihelion 0.823 AU (123.1 million km; 76.5 million mi) 46.4 ± 140 km
2415-11-15 306.9 AU (45.91 billion km; 28.53 billion mi) 2.44 ± 5 million km



  1. ^ a b c "MPEC 2013-V05 : 2013 US10". IAU Minor Planet Center. 2 November 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2014. (K13U10S)
  2. ^ a b "MPEC 2013-V31 : COMET C/2013 US10 (CATALINA)". IAU Minor Planet Center. 6 November 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2014. (CK13U10S)
  3. ^ a b c d e f "MPEC 2014-R69 : Observations and Orbits of Comets". IAU Minor Planet Center. 7 September 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e Horizons output. "Barycentric Osculating Orbital Elements for Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina)". Solution using the Solar System Barycenter. Ephemeris Type:Elements and Center:@0 (To be outside planetary region, inbound epoch 1950 and outbound epoch 2050)
  5. ^ Horizons output. "Heliocentric Osculating Orbital Elements for Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) for 2450–2500". (2482 has EC= 1.0003)
  6. ^ a b c Seiichi Yoshida (13 September 2014). "C/2013 US10 ( Catalina )". Seiichi Yoshida's Comet Catalog. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  7. ^ "Elements and Ephemeris for C/2013 US10 (Catalina)". IAU Minor Planet Center. Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  8. ^ "Horizons Batch for 2016-01-17 Earth Approach". JPL Horizons. Retrieved 2 February 2023.
  9. ^ "To the Voyagers and escaping from the Sun". Initiative for Interstellar Studies. 25 February 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2023.
  10. ^ "Horizons Batch for 200 AU". JPL Horizons. Retrieved 3 February 2023.
  11. ^ "Horizons Batch for Distance and Velocity using a 400 year stepsize". JPL Horizons. Retrieved 3 February 2023.

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