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The Comet Leonard (C/2021 A1)

Presentation #350.02 in the session The Sun and the Solar System — iPoster Session.

Published onJun 29, 2022
The Comet Leonard (C/2021 A1)

Comet Leonard was discovered by Gregory Leonard at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, in January 2021. The comet was close to Earth on December 12/2021 (0.23335 AU), made its closest approach to the planet Venus on December 18/2021 (0.02850 AU) [1], and to the sun on January 3/2022 (0.60161 AU) [2]. It was initially thought that the comet would be brighter, but this was not the case. The comets in general are unpredictable. On December it was suggested that the loss of brightness was due to a breakup of the cometary nucleus [3], but this phenomenon did not occur. The great show was provided by its long tail with a complex structure. I was able to observe the comet with a small 8” telescope for the first time at dawn on November 28/2021 and from that date I captured many photos, videos and photometry and astrometry data until January 10 of this year. Also through the different journalistic media, I socialized what was happening with the comet [4].From my home, located in Pasto-Colombia, I captured several pictures, videos and astrometry data during several days. Examples of images posted by Spaceweather are: November 28/2021 [5], January 06/2022 [6]. The pictures of the comet were captured with the following equipment: CELESTRON NexStar 8” telescope, SBIG STC-428 camera, and CANON EOS 20D camera. With my data I calculated the following orbital parameters: eccentricity = 1.01375 ± 0.00424, orbital inclination = 132.836 ± 0.052 deg , longitude of the ascending node = 255.771 ± 0.050 deg, argument of perihelion = 224.57 ± 0.16 deg, perihelion distance = 0.61655 ± 0.00049 A.U . The parameters were calculated based on 12 observations (Nov. 28-2022 to Jan. 10) with mean residual = 0.16 arcseconds.

[1] https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/tools/sbdb_lookup.html#/?sstr=C%2F2021%20A1&view=OPC

[2] https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2021/views-of-comet-leonard-from-two-sun-watching-spacecraft

[3] https://www.space.com/comet-leonard-fading-maybe-splitting

[4]https://newsy-today.com/we-have-the-unpublished-photo-of-comet-leonard-that-you-can-see-in-december/

[5] https://spaceweathergallery.com/indiv_upload.php?upload_id=179922

[6] https://spaceweathergallery.com/indiv_upload.php?upload_id=181342

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