Comets - 101P/ Chernykh - 0101P
Type Periodic Perihelion Date 12 January 2020 Perihelion Distance (q) 2.3 Aphelion Distance (Q) 9.2 Period (Years) 14.0 Eccentricity (e) 0.60 Inclination (i) 5.1 Click for NASA orbit diagram
Hills Observatory: 1 January 2013 to 24 October 2020
Nikolaj Stepanovich Chernykh (Crimean Astrophysical Observatory) discovered this comet with a 0.4-m astrograph, during the course of a regular minor planet program, on 19 August 1977. It was then located within Pisces. He estimated the magnitude as 14, and described the comet as diffuse, with a condensation. Chernykh confirmed his find on 20 August. The comet steadily brightened during the following months and reached magnitude 12.5 during late October, before the brightness declined. This decline was a result of the comet's increasing distance from Earth, having passed closest to our planet on 4 October (1.81 AU). The comet was lost in the sun's glare early in 1978, but it was seen for the final time on 3 December 1978, when it was photographed at Harvard College Observatory's Agassiz station. Revised orbital computations revealed the orbital period was 15.9 years. J. V. Scotti and D. Rabinowitz (Lunar and Planetary Laboratory) recovered the comet on Spacewatch images exposed on 8 June 1991. It was described as 8 arc seconds across, with a faint tail extending more than 8 arc seconds westward. The nuclear magnitude was given as 20.3. The only apparent observations were obtained during August, with visual estimates ranging from 12 to 14, depending on the observer. The predicted maximum magnitude was 11.6. The highlight of the 1992 apparition was the splitting of the comet. J. Luu and D. Jewitt photographed the comet on 15 and 16 September with the 2.4-m telescope of the Michigan- Dartmouth-MIT Observatory on Mauna Kea and found a secondary nucleus situated about 1 arc minute eastward of the primary nucleus. The brightnesses of the nuclei were given as 16.1 and 19.1 for the primary and secondary, respectively. Examinations of existing photographs revealed images as early as 7 September. Meanwhile, several observatories began tracking the continued separation of the primary and secondary nuclei. By late November Z. Sekanina (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) had concluded that the comet had split on 14.7±4.1 April 1991. Date 10x10 mag Error Kphot mag Coma ' 26-Dec-19 16.53 0.02 15.4 0.8 15-Jan-20 16.52 0.03 15.4 0.7 24-Jan-20 16.50 0.01 15.2 0.7 21-Feb-20 16.94 0.04 15.8 0.6 21-Sep-20 18.3 0.4