73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3

Japanese version
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Updated on March 24, 2016

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* Profile

The light curve had been stable for a long time since its discovery in 1930 until 1995 August. The brightness had been along m1 = 11.5 + 5 log delta + 18.0 log r. The brightness evolution is rather fast.

The nucleus was split in 1995 August. The comet became in outburst, brightened by 6 mag, and the absolute magnitude brightened up to 5.5 mag.

After the nuclear split, the brightness of the comet has been getting fainter gradually by every return. The absolute magnitude was 5.5 mag at outburst in 1995. Then it faded to 7.5 mag in the next return in 2001, and faded furthermore to 9.0 mag in 2006 at the recovery. During the apparition in 2006, it faded down to 11.5 mag, and it has come back completely to the original brightness.

If it passes the perihelion in June, it passes extremely close by the earth and becomes extremely bright. It passed only 0.062 A.U. from the earth in 1930, and it was discovered. It passed only 0.076 A.U. again in 2006, and it became a naked eye comet.

In 2001, the first return after the nuclear split, two more components, E and B, were also observed in addition to the main component C. In 2006, two components, C and B, became so bright as naked-eye objects, and so many tiny fragments were observed.

* Nucleus Fragmentation Tree

* Returns and Appearances

!Discovered *Appeared -Not observed #Appeared before discovery +Not observed before discovery .Returns in the future
* 73P
2017 Mar. 16
* 73P
2011 Oct. 16
* 73P
2006 June 6
* 73P
2001 Jan. 27
* 73P
1995 Sept.22
* 73P
1990 May 19
-
1985 Jan. 11
* 73P/1979 P1
1979 Sept. 2
-
1974 Apr. 5
-
1968 Oct. 23
-
1963 May 15
-
1957 Sept.22
-
1952 Feb. 14
-
1946 Sept. 7
-
1941 Apr. 5
-
1935 Nov. 7
! 73P/1930 J1
1930 June 14

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The perihelion dates in the past appearances are printed on Catalog of Cometary Orbits 1996.
The perihelion dates of non-observed returns from 1935 to 1985 are calculated using the Minor Planet & Comet Ephemeris Service.
Information on the discovery and historical highlights are available at General Comet Info (Gary W. Kronk).
Orbital elements in the past and future are calculated by Kazuo Kinoshita (http://www9.ocn.ne.jp/~comet/pcmtn/0073p.htm).
The nucleus fragmentation tree is based on the calculations by Syuichi Nakano (NK 1303, NK 1331, NK 1332, NK 1333, NK 1334).

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Copyright(C) Seiichi Yoshida (comet@aerith.net). All rights reserved.