C/2003 H3 (NEAT)

This comet was discovered by the NEAT telescope at Haleakala (Hawaii) on April 30th 2003. The comet was  magnitude 17 and had a small coma. Many observers confirmed that the object was cometary. This comet was discovered just past perihelion, which happened on April 24th 2003 at 2.90AU. This appears to be a rather small object.

The light curve showed a rapid brightening as the geocentric distance reduced through May 2003, before declining again, with the peak brightness some 30 days after perihelion.

The comet was only observed by Spanish observers for about 5 weeks, although during that time a substantial number of observers took data (Isidro Almendros, MPC 212; Ramón Naves & Montse Campàs, MPC 213; Esteban Reina, MPC 232; Julio Castellano, MPC 939; Josep Lluis Salto, MPC A02; Juan Lacruz, MPC J87).

However, the light curve is somewhat misleading as the physical size of the 10” aperture was reducing with the geocentric distance thus reducing the amount of the coma entering the aperture. When we look at Afrho we compensate for the changing aperture size and see that the activity of the comet was genuinely increasing after perihelion. Afrho increased from approximately 20-cm at T+7 days to 90-cm at T+30 days. This suggests that the comet was activated by the perihelion passage, possibly by aspect changes.










CCD observation in a 10 arcsecond aperture by:

·         Isidro Almendros – MPC 212

·         Ramón Naves & Montse Campàs - MPC 213

·         Esteban Reina – MPC 232

·         Julio Castellano – MPC 939

·         Juan Lacruz – MPC J87



Última actualización 03/05/2006