Saturday, October 20, 2012

Comet Discovered at SkyCenter!

Most of you know that I work with the Mount Lemmon Skycenter at the University of Arizona, and this week we had a significant first!  A comet was discovered by an observer using our 32 inch Schulman telescope remotely.  Mr. Tomas Vorobjov discovered what is now known as Comet Vorobjov last Sunday night while acquiring data searching for Near Earth Objects. Mr. Vorobjov directs the Data Reduction Team of the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) project, and discovered the comet in data he acquired through work with IASC.   The comet was officially recognized, designated, and named Thursday afternoon through the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center, as P/2012 T7 (Vorobjov).

At left is the sequence of discovery images acquired remotely, in partnership with the Sierra Stars Observing Network (SSON).  Ignoring the blue and green circled objects, the comet can be seen moving near the center of the image and a faint tail can be seen moving along with the comet on its right side.  As I mentioned, this is significant for us as we work in partnership with SSON to make the .8 meter (32 inch) Schulman Telescope available for remote use to astronomers, educators and citizen scientists world-wide.  This level of public access to the Schulman Telescope is central to our mission of education and public outreach.  This is the first comet discovered by Mr. Vorobjov, as well as the first comet discovered by observers using the Schulman Telescope.  Yippee!

No comments:

Post a Comment