51P/Harrington is a periodic comet in the Solar System.

51P/Harrington
Discovery
Discovered byRobert G. Harrington at Palomar Observatory
Discovery date14 August 1953
Orbital characteristics A
Epoch2015-08-06
(JD 2457240.5)
Aphelion5.729 AU (Q)
Perihelion1.699 AU (q)
Semi-major axis3.714 AU (a)
Eccentricity0.5424
Orbital period7.16 yr
Inclination5.42°
Last perihelion12 August 2015[1]
18 June 2008
Next perihelion2022-Oct-01[2]

It was discovered by Robert George Harrington at Palomar Observatory on 14 August 1953 using the Schmidt telescope. It then had a brightness of magnitude 15. In October 1956 its orbit was affected by the planet Jupiter and on its next return in 1960 the brightness had fallen to magnitude 20. By 1980 it had slightly improved to magnitude 18. It has a period of approximately 7 years.

In 1987 and 1994 brightness had significantly increased to magnitude 12. In 1994 Jim Scotti at Kitt Peak Observatory observed that the comet had broken up and that two detached pieces were accompanying the main body, which explained the improvement in the brightness. By 2001 further splitting had occurred.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Seiichi Yoshida (2016-05-14). "51P/Harrington". Seiichi Yoshida's Comet Catalog. Retrieved 2017-02-26.
  2. ^ MPC
  • Mobberley, Martin. Hunting and Imaging Comets. Google Books

External linksEdit

Numbered comets
Previous
50P/Arend
51P/Harrington Next
52P/Harrington–Abell