C/2002 X5 (Kudo-Fujikawa)

C/2002 X5 (Kudo-Fujikawa) was discovered visually on 2002 December 13th by Tetu Kudo with 20x120 binoculars from Nishi Goshi-machi, Kikuchi-gun, Kumamoto-ken, Japan. He estimated it to be magnitude 9.5, with a diameter of 2'. The comet was confirmed by Kadota the follwing night at magnitude 9.6, but Kushida estimates it to be as bright as 7.5 with a CCD. The tail is at least 18' long. An independent discovery was later reported by Fujikawa and it was decided to name the comet for the two observers.

The initial orbit based on 48 observations made between December 14th and 16th shows that this is an object that will reach perihelion on January 28th 2003 at 0.185AU (half the distance of Mercury). This has been substantially confirmed by a new and better orbit based on observations from December 14th-30th. Theoretically the comet could become negative magnitude at perihelion but, in practice, it will be less than 7º from the Sun and totally unobservable.

The inclination of the orbit is 94º.2. This means that it will be best observed from the northern hemisphere up to about 7-10 days before peihelion and from then on from the southern hemisphere. The best view will be from the southern hemisphere after perihelion although, depending on its rate of brightening, the comet may be a naked-eye object in mid-January.


The light curve

GIn fact, as we can see, the comet stopped short of the hoped-for easy naked eye visibility. The comet was recovered from Spain by Diego Rodríguez in late March 2003, although it has declined more slowly than it brightened.












CCD observations in R in a 10 arcsecond aperture by:

  • Ramón Naves & Montse Campàs - MPC 213
  • Isidro Almendros - MPC 212
  • Rolando Ligustri - MPC 235
  • Miguel Camarasa - MPC 445
  • Diego Rodr&iaacute;guez - MPC 458
  • Josep Lluis Salto - MPC A02
  • Carles Pineda - MPC J91

CCD total magnitude estimates in apertures of 2'.1, 2'.3 and 6'.9 by:

  • Giovanni Sostero
  • Rolando Ligustri

Total visual magnitude estimates by:

  • Valentín Díaz;



Última actualización 04/04/2003
Por M.R.Kidger