New Comet Discovered from Mauna Kea

Dec 05, 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

Explore further: Astrophysicists offer new research, tool for identifying habitable zones

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

400-Meter Asteroid May Hit Earth on 13 April, 2029

Dec 24, 2004

A recently rediscovered 400-meter Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) is predicted to pass near the Earth on 13 April 2029. The flyby distance is uncertain and an Earth impact cannot yet be ruled out. The odds of impact, ...

Recommended for you

Scientists 'map' water vapor in Martian atmosphere

4 hours ago

Russian scientists from the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), together with their French and American colleagues, have ...

Water fleas prepared for trip to space

9 hours ago

Local 'Daphnia' waterfleas are currently being prepared by scientists at the University of Birmingham for their trip to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will be observed by astronauts.

The worst trip around the world

9 hours ago

As you celebrate the end of the year in the warmth of your home, spare a thought for the organisms riding with a third-class ticket on the International Space Station – bolted to the outside with no protection ...

User comments : 0

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.