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Comet C/1999 S4 LINEAR

CCD image of Comet LINEAR taken by Carroll DeVault and Jim Thorpe on July 2, 2000,  using C14 at Mt. Wilson on a Paramount Mount. Posted to Astro-Officers eGroup by Tony Obra.

July-August, 2000

It's been a while since we've had a good naked eye comet. The last one was Comet Hale-Bopp in the late 90's, then Comet Hyakutake before that.

But at the end of July this year, and into August, it looks like we will once again have a good comet-viewing opportunity: Comet C/1999 S4 LINEAR

Comet LINEAR got its name from the fact that it was originally discovered by the meteor hunting LINEAR satellite, the Lincoln Laboratory Near Earth Asteroid Research satellite, which had already discovered other faint comets. 

While Comet LINEAR will not be as bright as its recent predecessors, Comet Hale-Bopp and Comet Hyakutake, it should be easy to observe and in plain view at the end of July and early August. Towards the end of August, it will have moved on into Virgo, and will become more difficult to observe as it disappears into the early evening twilight. But Southern Hemisphere observers have a treat in store, as Comet LINEAR passes right by M104 the Sombrero Galaxy in Virgo on August 20.

During the early part of July, Comet LINEAR was an early morning object moving through the constellations of Triangulum and Andromeda. At the time it reaches maximum brightness on July 23, just three days before perihelion, it will be an early evening object in the southern part of Ursa Major, or the Big Dipper.

Yes, Comet LINEAR will be a faint naked eye comet, but a pair of  binoculars or a telescope are sure to reveal some interesting details.

Don't miss out on the chance to observe Comet LINEAR, because we never know how long it may be until the next comet passes by. It could be months, or even years!

Ephemeris of Comet C/1999 S4 LINEAR (Equinox 2000.0)
perihelion date: July 26, 2000
perihelion distance: 0.765004 a.u.
eccentricity: 1.000002
argument of perihelion: 151.0672 degrees
longitude of ascending node: 83.19007 degrees
inclination: 149.3902 degrees

Month Date  R.A. Dec. Est Mag. Constellation
July 14 4h 17.5m  +59d 59' 6.5 Camelopardalis
  15 4h 41.5m +61d 44' 6.3  
  16  5h 11.8m +63d 20' 6.2  
  17 5h 49.5m +64d 34' 6.0  
  18 6h 34.6m  +65d 09' 5.9  
  19 7h 24.9m +64d 45'  5.8  
  20 8h 16.0m +63d  08'  5.7 Ursa Major
  21 9h 03.0m +60d 15' 5.6  
  22 9h 42.8m +56d 18' 5.6  
  23 10h 15.1m +51d 34' 5.6  
  24 10h 40.8 +46d 23' 5.6  
  25 11h 01.0m +41d 06' 5.6  
  26 11h 17.1m +35d 54' 5.7  
  27 11h 30.1m +31d 00' 5.8  
  28 11h 40.6m +26d 27' 5.9 Leo
  29 11h 49.3m +22d 19' 6.0  
  30 11h 56.5m +18d 36' 6.1  
August 1 12h 07.6m +12d 19' 6.4 Virgo
  2 12h 11.9m +9d 42' 6.6  
  3 12h 15.6m +7d 20 6.7   
  4 12h 18.8m +5d 13' 6.8  
  5 12h 21.6m +3d 20 7.0  
  6 12h 24.0m +1d 38' 7.1  
  7 12h 26.2m +0d 7.2' 7.2  
  8 12h 28.0m -1d 16' 7.3  
  9 12h 29.6m -2d 31' 7.5  
  10 12h 31.1m -3d 40' 7.6  

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