78P/Gehrels

Summary

78P/Gehrels
Discovery
Discovered byTom Gehrels
Discovery dateSeptember 29, 1973
Alternative
designations
1973 XI; 1981 XVII; 1989 XVII
Orbital characteristics A
EpochMarch 6, 2006
Aphelion5.462 AU
Perihelion2.009 AU
Semi-major axis3.735 AU
Eccentricity0.4622
Orbital period7.22 yr
Inclination6.2530°
Last perihelionApril 2, 2019[1][2]
January 12, 2012[3]
October 27, 2004[1][4]
Next perihelion2026-06-25[5]

78P/Gehrels, also known as Gehrels 2, is a Jupiter-family periodic comet in the Solar System with a current orbital period of 7.22 years.

It was discovered by Tom Gehrels at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Arizona, USA on photographic plates exposed between 29 September and 5 October 1973 at the Palomar Observatory. It had a brightness of apparent magnitude of 15. Brian G. Marsden computed the parabolic and elliptical orbits which suggested an orbital period of 8.76 years, later revising the data to give a perihelion date of 30 November 1963 and orbital period of 7.93 years.[6]

The comet's predicted next appearance in 1981 was observed by W. and A. Cochran at the McDonald Observatory, Texas on 8 June 1981. It was observed again in 1989 and in 1997, when favourable conditions meant that brightness increased to magnitude 12.[6] It has subsequently been observed in 2004 when it reached magnitude 10, 2012, and 2018.[1]

Outward migration

Comet 78P/Gehrels' aphelion (furthest distance from the Sun) of 5.4AU[3] is in the zone of control of the giant planet Jupiter and the orbit of the comet is frequently perturbed by Jupiter.[7] On September 15, 2029, the comet will pass within 0.018 AU (2.7 million kilometers) of Jupiter[7] and be strongly perturbed. By the year 2200, the comet will have a centaur-like orbit with a perihelion (closest distance to the Sun) near Jupiter.[8] This outward migration from a perihelion of 2AU to a perihelion of ~5AU could cause the comet to go dormant.

The Outward Migration of 78P/Gehrels
Year (epoch) 2009[3] 2030 2200[8]
Semi-major axis 3.73 6.02 9.37
Perihelion 2.00 4.08 4.99
Aphelion 5.46 7.96 13.7
Comet 78P passing within 0.018 AU of Jupiter in 2029.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Seiichi Yoshida (2006-10-03). "78P/Gehrels 2". Seiichi Yoshida's Comet Catalog. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  2. ^ Syuichi Nakano (2011-06-10). "78P/Gehrels 2 (NK 2102)". OAA Computing and Minor Planet Sections. Retrieved 2012-02-18.
  3. ^ a b c "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 78P/Gehrels 2" (2011-05-21 last obs). Retrieved 2009-05-11.
  4. ^ Syuichi Nakano (2009-04-20). "78P/Gehrels 2 (NK 1760)". OAA Computing and Minor Planet Sections. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  5. ^ "78P/Gehrels Orbit". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  6. ^ a b Kronk, Gary W. "78P/Gehrels 2". Cometography. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  7. ^ a b c "JPL Close-Approach Data: 78P/Gehrels 2" (2006-02-26 last obs). Retrieved 2009-05-11.
  8. ^ a b Heider. "Orbital Elements of 78P/Gehrels in 2200". Archived from the original on 2015-06-06. Retrieved 2009-05-11.

External links

  • Orbital simulation from JPL (Java) / Horizons Ephemeris
  • 78P/Gehrels – Minor Planet Center
  • 78P/Gehrels 2 (2012)
  • 78P at Kronk's Cometography
  • Lightcurve (Artyom Novichonok)
  • 78P as seen by 10" GRAS-04 on 2011-05-03 (120 sec x 6)
  • 78P as seen by 0.3-metre (12 in) Schmidt-Cassegrain on 2011 08 06 (3 x 748 sec) and 2011 08 09 (6 x 600 sec)


Numbered comets
Previous
77P/Longmore
78P/Gehrels Next
79P/du Toit–Hartley