Comet Skjellerup–Maristany

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C/1927 X1 (Skjellerup-Maristany)
Comet 1927k Skjellerup by Slipher.jpg
Discovered byJohn Francis Skjellerup, Edmundo Maristany
Discovery dateDecember 6, 1927
Great Comet of 1927, 1927 IX, 1927 X1
Orbital characteristics
(JD 2425240.5)[1]
Aphelion2202 AU
Perihelion0.1761 AU[1]
Semi-major axis1101 AU
Orbital period~36600 yr
Last perihelionDecember 18, 1927[1]
Next perihelionunknown

Comet Skjellerup–Maristany, formally designated C/1927 X1, 1927 IX, and 1927k, was a long-period comet which became very bright in 1927. This great comet was observable to the naked eye for about 32 days.[2] It was independently discovered by amateur astronomers John Francis Skjellerup in Australia on November 28, 1927 and Edmundo Maristany in Argentina on December 6, 1927, and noted for its strong yellow appearance, caused by emission from sodium atoms.

Forward scattering of light on December 15 and 16 of 1927 allowed the comet to be seen during daylight if the observer blocked the Sun.[3] C/1927 X1 passed only 1.4° from the Sun on 1927-Dec-15.[4]

It has been more than 105 AU (15.7 billion km) from the Sun since 2010.

The comet was mentioned in J. R. R. Tolkien's book Letters From Father Christmas.


  1. ^ a b c d e "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: C/1927 X1 (Skjellerup-Maristany)" (1928-03-29 last obs (arc=115 days)). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 2011-04-07.
  2. ^ Donald K. Yeomans (April 2007). "Great Comets in History". Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology (Solar System Dynamics). Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  3. ^ Marcus, Joseph N. (October 2007). "Forward-Scattering Enhancement of Comet Brightness. II. The Light Curve of C/2006 P1" (PDF). International Comet Quarterly. pp. 119–130.
  4. ^ Horizons output. "Observer Table for Comet C/1927 X1 (Skjellerup-Maristany)". Retrieved 2011-08-07. (Observer Location:Geocentric [500])

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