COMET -C/1999 H1 (LEE)
UPDATE 6
August 2, 1999

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FIRST REPORTED RE-ACQUISITION OF COMET LEE
Estimated Magnitude Greater than NASA Predicted!
By gary d. goodwin

The first return sighting of Comet Lee has been made by Reinder J. Bouma of Groningen in the Netherlands. The comet was seen in the early morning hours today and was reported to be a magnitude of 6.8. This magnitude is greater than NASA's predicted 7.2 magnitude (see table below) as stated by Brian Marsden at Harvard (CLICK HERE).

Date

R. A. (2000)

Decl.

Delta

r

Elong.

Phase

m1

1999 08 10

07 15.39

+40 15.9

1.524

0.924

36.1

40.3

7.6

The above is the earliest available position and magnitude estimate from the Minor Planet Center's ephemeris. Note: m1(magnitude) = 7.6, eight days from today. Will the ephemeris be modified between now and then?

The following are comments made by Alfredo Pereira on June 18th of this year from the Comet Observers Forum:

"Unless an outburst occurs, I will be surprised if the comet is much brighter than m1=7 at the beginning of August when it should be recovered in the morning sky. Considering an even more pessimistic scenario (with a 1.5 mag. drop in H0, and a fast n=6 fading rate post-perihelion), would yield m1 close to 8 in the first half of August.

While approaching the Sun from 1.7 to 1.06 AU, the intrinsic brightness showed a sustained increase following an inverse 5.4 power law in r. Such a high n value sustained over a significant range in r, while not unprecedented, is nevertheless unusual for a long-period comet. The light-curve hints at an increase in brightening pace around 1.5-1.4 AU, about the point where water sublimation can be expected to kick-in really vigorously, but 51 binocular observations covering the interval from r=1.7 to 1.06 AU, can be very well represented with the following inverse power law parameters: H0=6.07 (0.07); n=5.4 (0.2); sigma=0.19 mag.."

The "high n value" mentioned above seems to have genuinely impressed this fellow. He also mentions that at 1.5 AU's is where vigorous water sublimation should really kick in. It should be noted that for this area in the solar system, relative to this comet's trajectory, it could be well stated that it "began to earnestly vacuum up the plasma from the plasma rich area of the solar system". However generally speaking and according to the false "dirty snowball theory of comets", comets are expected to sublimate ices around three to four AU's. Again, speed, trajectory and general conditions may change this. But it is primarily due to the electrical influence that comets begin to 'light up' and grow a tail!

So what's to come? Will the position change from "nongravitational effects"? We will be checking the positions regularly. As we've stated in the past, we are making NO predictions! We'll leave that to the NASA boys. Comets have a nasty tendency to surprise folks. One mention of Kahoutek and you'll see 'em scatter! But we will all find out soon enough.

The World Will Be Watching!


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