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Reports from Geisei Observatory <December 24, 2012>

C/2012 V4 Mysterious Comet Pons-Gambart

    gMysterious Comet Pons-Gambarth has made an appearance. C/2012 V4 has recently been discovered by SWAN/SOHO during its patrol in the vicinity of the Sun. Maik Meyer of Germany pointed out that this cometfs orbit was similar to that of Pons-Gambart discovered in June 1827 both in Italy and France. The orbits of these comets have been examined in Japan, too, and it was found they were likely to be the same comet.
    In 1917 Dr. Shinkichi Ogura at Tokyo Astronomical Observatory calculated the orbit of Pons-Cambart and came up with a 63.8-year period. This yearfs apparition seems to be its first return, which means its period is 188 years. Frenchman Pons discovered 28 comets in his lifetime and many of them were said to be discovered using a 5cm refractor while he was working as a guard for an observatory in Florence according to Dr. Brian Marsden.
    We observed Comet Pons-Gambart at Geisei Observatory. It has a beautiful greenish coma with a slight tail. In 1827 the comet was at 5th to 6th magnitude, but I estimated its brightness this year to be at 8.3 magnitude visually at the brightest.

[C/2012 V4 (Pons-Gambart)]

C/2012 V4 (Pons-Gambart)
60-second exposure at 18:12, December 12, 2012
70cm f/7 reflector

Copyright (C) 2012 Tsutomu Seki.