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IAUC 6397: 1996 J1; FG Sge

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                                                  Circular No. 6397
Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams
Postal Address: Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
IAUSUBS@CFA.HARVARD.EDU or FAX 617-495-7231 (subscriptions)
Phone 617-495-7244/7440/7444 (for emergency use only)

COMET 1996 J1
     R. H. McNaught, Anglo-Australian Observatory, reports the
discovery by Robert Evans of a comet on a U.K. Schmidt Telescope R
film exposed by M. J. Drinkwater.  The following observations are

     1996 UT             R.A. (2000) Decl.        m1    Observer
     May  10.44268   10 53         -23 20               Evans
          12.57190   10 52 36.26   -23 06 23.2   16     Jerjen
          12.58223   10 52 36.18   -23 06 18.5            "

M. J. Drinkwater (Siding Spring).  U.K. Schmidt Telescope.  Mid-
  time of 15-min exposure (comet appears as a short, saturated
  trail).  Tail about 0'.5 long toward the northeast.
H. Jerjen (Siding Spring).  1.0-m reflector + CCD.  Measurer
  McNaught.  Comet appears as a wide, parabolic fan with coma
  diameter 0'.6 and a tail 0'.6 long to the north.

     J. A. Mattei, AAVSO, reports that this variable is currently
fainter than it has been at any time since 1894 (cf. IAUC 6393).
AAVSO data files indicate that FG Sge started to decline in 1992
Aug. from its average maximum magnitude (over about 25 yr) of 9.2
(cf. IAUC 5604, 5609, 5610); by 1992 Oct., it had reached mag 13.7,
and since then it had brightened to mag 10.2 several times (without
ever fully reaching its 'normal' maximum) and then fading again.
Its faintest minimum was mag 14.4 in 1994 Aug.  Recent observations
indicate that in 1996 Jan. it had reached mag 10.2 and started to
fade slowly again by the end of Feb.  Recent AAVSO visual
observations:  Feb. 26.2 UT, 10.5 (G. Krisch, Bockenem, Germany);
27.19, 10.9, (W. Kriebel, Leiblfing-Hailing, Germany); 29.13, 11.9
(P. Maurer, Bad Friedrichshall, Germany); Mar. 9.18, 11.9 (B.
Granslo, Nordahl Griegs Vei, Norway); 21.18, 12.4 (A. Diepvens,
Balen, Belgium); 28.1, 12.5 (J. Speil, Walbrzych, Poland); Apr.
8.0, 13.9 (L. Szentasko, Budapest, Hungary); 22.13, 14.4: (G.
Poyner, Birmingham, England); 28.10, 14.3: (Poyner); May 5.07,
[13.7 (Poyner); 7.36, 16.0 (R. Royer, Lakewood, CA; CCD + infrared
blocking filter).  Mattei notes that there are two stars to the
east and very near FG Sge; the star located about 8"-10" east is
suspected to be variable, and Royer reported this star at mag 12.3
on May 7.36; the star to the east of this suspected variable was
then at mag about 15.0.

                      (C) Copyright 1996 CBAT
1996 May 12                    (6397)            Daniel W. E. Green

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