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IAUC 6473: 1996 R2; P/1996 N2

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                                                  Circular No. 6473
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 R2
     Claes-Ingvar Lagerkvist, Uppsala Observatory, reports his
discovery of a comet on a Schmidt plate taken on Sept. 10 at the
European Southern Observatory (ESO).  As part of an Uppsala/DLR
collaboration, on the following two nights U. Carsenty and S.
Mottola obtained CCD observations with the ESO Bochum telescope
that reveal a coma and anti-sunward tail.

     1996 UT             R.A. (2000) Decl.        m1
     Sept.10.11667   22 35 48.5    -12 40 30      17
          11.18995   22 35 05.68   -12 43 55.2
          11.19326   22 35 05.54   -12 43 55.6
          12.08045   22 34 30.82   -12 46 31.1
          12.08358   22 34 30.69   -12 46 31.5

A spectrum (range 400-800 nm) obtained by H. Pedersen with the
Danish 1.54-m telescope at ESO revealed no obvious emission lines
from the coma.

     R. H. McNaught, Anglo-Australian Observatory, has communicated
measurements of this object from a 75-min exposure by M. R. S.
Hawkins with the U.K. Schmidt on 1985 Sept. 15, the faint, trailed
image being asteroidal with V about 19.  These confirm B. G.
Marsden's suggested identification with 1979 OW7 (IAUC 6457);
McNaught has also examined S. J. Bus' 1979 U.K. Schmidt discovery
plate, again confirming asteroidal character with V about 18.5.
Astrometric observations, orbital elements and an ephemeris are
given on MPEC 1996-R07.
     H. Bohnhardt, Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics,
University of Munich, reports:  "Finson-Probstein calculations on
the dust tail of P/1996 N2 indicate that, until late 1996, dust
emitted before T + 40 to 60 days will be located on the sunward
side of the nucleus.  However, the discrimination between
synchrones of different ages will be enhanced between mid-Sept. and
mid-Dec.; from mid-Oct. to mid-Nov., a normal anti-sunward dust
tail could develop if the dust-emission episode happened after T +
65 days.  Earlier emission times may then be indicated by dust
located over p.a. about 300-252 deg.  Imaging during Oct.-Nov.
could thus be very useful for constraining the time of the emission
     Fully confirming the above, Z. Sekanina, Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, notes that measures by W. Offutt on Sept. 9.15 UT give
p.a. 254.03 +/- 0.08 deg, yielding an emission time of T + 42 days
(formal error +/- 4 days).

                      (C) Copyright 1996 CBAT
1996 September 12              (6473)            Daniel W. E. Green

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