New Comet Discovered from Mauna Kea

December 5, 2005
New Comet Discovered from Mauna Kea

While searching for "killer asteroids" on Halloween night, University of Hawaii astronomer Fabrizio Bernardi found a new comet, the first discovered from Mauna Kea Observatories.

Image: Orbit of Comet P/2005 V1 Bernardi

"While studying images I had taken with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, I noticed an object with a faint tail. I checked to see if there were any known comets in that part of the sky, and was surprised to find that there were none," said Bernardi.

"I consulted with my colleagues David Tholen, Andrea Boattini, and Jana Pittichová, and we decided to monitor the object for a few nights. Having confirmed that it was a comet, we reported the find to the International Astronomical Union."

The comet is now officially "P/2005 V1 Bernardi" after its discoverer.

The comet, which orbits the Sun about once every 10 years, does not come close enough to Earth to be visible to the naked eye. When discovered, it was about 280 million miles away from Earth—almost three times the distance from Earth to the Sun. The length of its tail is estimated to be more than 13,000 miles.

Bernardi is working with Tholen, a UH astronomer who heads a NASA-funded program to find asteroids that pass close to Earth and are therefore potentially dangerous.

Source: University of Hawaii

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New nanomaterial maintains conductivity in 3-D

September 4, 2015

An international team of scientists has developed what may be the first one-step process for making seamless carbon-based nanomaterials that possess superior thermal, electrical and mechanical properties in three dimensions.

Apple patent looks at fuel cell system for portable device

September 4, 2015

A fuel cell battery to last weeks, not days, is the subject of a patent filed by Apple. According to news reports, the patent is about an energy cell powering a portable electronic device. The Telegraph said this was likely ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.