by Anura Guruge
Click to ENLARGE.
Comet C/2018 V1 ( Machholz-Fujikawa-Iwamoto )
Discovered: November 7, 2018 (yes, just last week).
Discoverers: One is Arizona (Donald E. Machholz, Jr.) & two in Japan (Shigehisa Fujikawa & Masayuki Iwamoto). You can find more here. Hence the name which credits all three.
C/2018 V1 is much more of a CLASSIC comet than our current ‘Christmas Comet of 2018‘, i.e., 46P/Wirtanen. That is why it has a ‘C/’ designation while the other is a ‘P/’. The ‘P/’ denotes that 46P/Wirtanen is a PERIODIC comet — one that swings around the sun on a regular basis (like a commuter). The ‘C/’, on the other hand, means that is a NON-PERIODIC. It means that this comet has not been previously seen in the last 200-years. Typically it means that it is a FIRST TIME visitor from far, far out in the Solar System, ideally from the Oort Cloud, the incubator of most comets at the very edge of our Solar System.
So, we are assuming it is a FRESH comet, with a lot of frozen matter that will sublimate as the comet gets closer and closer to the Sun. That is what makes it visible, gives it a tail and with luck makes it spectacular. Right now it is touch and go. Viewed through a powerful telescope you can already see a blue tail — that color indicating the presence of ionized Carbon Monoxide (CO+).
On Tuesday, November 27, 2018 it will be at its closest to Earth — 62 million miles. Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) that could have been the GREAT COMET of 2013 would have been 40 million miles. So, C/2018 V1 will be 22 million miles further out. BUT, unlike ISON it will make it around the Sun. That is a given. It is NOT a sungrazer. Actually it doesn’t get very close to the Sun! As you can see from the above diagram it does not even cross Mercury’s orbit.
Right now it is BORDERLINE — but shows more promise than 46P.
I will keep you posted. This was a BIG heads up.
Comet ISON IF it had rounded the Sun — rather than getting FRIED by it, because it went so close.
Click to ENLARGE and admire. From the JPL Small-Body Database Browser.
Check Category ‘astronomy’.
by Anura Guruge