Comets - 49P/Arend-Rigaux - 0049P
Type Periodic Perihelion Date 15 July 2018 Perihelion Distance (q) 1.4 Aphelion Distance (Q) 5.7 Period (Years)   6.7 Eccentricity (e)   0.60 Inclination (i)   19.0 Click for NASA orbit diagram
Hills Observatory: 1 January 2013 to 6 May 2018
This comet was found by Sylvain Arend and F. Rigaux (Royal Observatory, Uccle, Belgium) on  plates exposed for a routine minor planet survey on 5 & 6 February 1951. The comet was then  described as about magnitude 11 and was said to be diffuse, with a central condensation.  Prediscovery images were later found at two observatories. McDonald Observatory (Texas, USA)  found images on plates exposed on 8 January and 4 February, while Tokyo Observatory found an  image on a plate exposed on 28 January. The discovery apparition was an extremely favorable one for this comet and astronomers noted  a coma and tail on several occasions. The next apparition in 1958 was somewhat different.  Although an object was found very close to the predicted position, it was distinctly asteroidal in  appearance. Three weeks' worth of observations revealed the "asteroid" was moving in the  identical orbit as Arend-Rigaux and astronomers knew they had the correct object. No coma or  tail was detected throughout this apparition. Interestingly, no coma or tail was seen during the  1963 and 1970 apparitions either. The very favorable return of 1978 did enable astronomers to  again detect a faint coma and tail, confirming the cometary nature. The comet's orbit has been extremely stable as it has not passed less than 0.9 AU from Jupiter  during the last nine centuries. Long-term projections indicate significant alterations will not occur until the 24th century when the comet experiences two rather close approaches to Jupiter. Date 10x10 mag Error Kphot mag Coma ' 15-Aug-17 18.89 0.23 18.1 0.2 16-Sep-17 18.71 0.11 18.7 0.2 10-Oct-17 18.55 0.08 18.4 0.2