I observed Comet Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova on May 10 in the glow of lights from a night-time baseball game. It was at 15th magnitude with a 17.5-magnitude nucleus. The positions haven't been measured yet, but the coma is extensively diffused and about five times bigger than at near-perihelion in April. This is in line with this comet's characteristic that it begins to become diffuse as the distance from the sun increases appearing as a patch of fog in the end. It becomes so faint that no one method is adequate to predict its brightness changes. Periodic comets with large non-gravitational forces have this kind of tendency. They become extremely faint while the distance from the sun is still not large. For this reason comets of this type are not included in the LINEAR projects. Visual comet hunters should be hopeful for discovery of this type of comets and continue to search the area near the sun. Fortune will smile on those who have strong determination, courage, and resilience.
The following are observation data of Comet Schaumasse which has just passed perihelion. There are a fewer people now who can remember that this comet became a naked-eye object by bursts of activity in 1951 when it was at magnitude 12-13.
It passed perihelion on May 2 and has been quiet. It might have released most of its energy at the last outbursts.
Comet 24P/Schaumasse 2001 UT R.A (2000) Decl. m1 May. 10.48958 6 57 40.01 +31 21 50.7 13.4 372 May. 10.49792 6 57 42.33 +31 21 48.7 372 T.Seki
May 10, 2001
60cm reflector at Geisei Observatory
Copyright (C) 2001 Tsutomu Seki.