C/2002 Q2 (LINEAR)

On August 26th 2002 LINEAR discovered two large and active comets in the same field and moving in the same direction. Of the two, C/2002 Q2 was significantly brighter, suggesting that these were fragments of a single object and that Q2 was the principal nucleus. This was later confirmed by orbital calculations.

C/2002 Q2 reached perihelion at 1.30AU on August 19th, with C/2002 Q3 delayed by 0.73 days. Some estimates suggest that Q2 is the brighter of the two by as much as 3 magnitudes. The comet should reach maximum around 16.5 in mid-September.

The light curve


The light curve is only poorly covered at present. The comet is expected to peak at minimum distance from the Earth in mid-September before starting to fade rapidly.

Given that the brightness of split comets is intrinsically unstable, it is difficult to predict the comet's future behaviour. The comet's absolute magnitude is very faint (approximately 13) despite the fact that one must assume that the comet is in photometric outburst associated with the splitting. This makes its activity especially difficult to predict.







Observations by:

Última actualización 16/09/2002
Por M.R.Kidger