Comets - P/2010 H2 (Vales) - PK10H020
Type Periodic Perihelion Date 11 September 2017 Perihelion Distance (q) 3.1 Aphelion Distance (Q) 4.6 Period (Years) 7.5 Eccentricity (e) 0.20 Inclination (i) 14.3 Click for NASA orbit diagram
Hills Observatory: 1 January 2013 to 15 February 2020
On 16 April 2010, Jan Vales of the Crni Vrh observatory, Slovenia, discovered a 13th magnitude 'star' moving slowly across the sky. Observations using larger telescopes some hours later showed the object was slightly more diffuse than the adjacent stars and it was subsequently identified as a new comet, one that seems to have undergone an outburst of 7 magnitudes or more within a time interval of less than 14 hr. The orbit of the object shows that the parent body is one of the family of asteroids known as the Hildas, which are held in their orbit through resonance with the planet Jupiter. We may have witnessed an event whereby the asteroid in question has collided with a smaller body causing it to disintegrate into fragments, releasing dust and gas in the process. On the other hand, some internal process may have triggered what is essentially a cometary outburst. We already know of almost 20 Hilda-type comets and P/2010 H2 appears to be the newest member to join this group. In the latest image, outflowing jets of dust can be seen emanating in at least 5 different directions. However, the majority of material reflecting sunlight still remains within less than 5 arcseconds of the nucleus almost 4 days after the initial outburst, which means that most of the mass of the parent body is moving away in all directions at less than 30 m/s, i.e. something of a snail's pace for such a relatively massive outburst. Date 10x10 mag Error Kphot mag Coma '