La Cañada Observatory, is an initiative by Juan Lacruz, the observatory started astrometric operations in the summer of 2002, it is registered as station J87 in the Minor Planet Center of the International Astronomical Union.

The Observatory also participates in the studies on minor bodies promoted by the Group on Meteorites, Minor Bodies, and Planetary Sciences of the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC-IEEC).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Comet C/2009 F1 Larson

This new comet discovered by S. M. Larson, University of Arizona, on survey images taken with the Mount Lemmon 1.5m telescope showing a coma diameter 4"-6" was posted on the minor planet center neo confirmation page as 9FAF233 for other observatories to confirm.

On a stack of 18 CCD images 60 seconds each in fairly good seeing a fuzziness was barely appreciated, I didn't report it to the central bureau for astronomical telegrams (CBAT) because to me, it wasn't clear enough if it was a comet.

However, other observatories noticed the diffuse aspect and the object has been recognized as a new non periodic comet.
Below you can see the analysis of the full with at half maximum for the stars in the image, most of them have FWHM = 2.5" which is good seeing for La Cañada, the comet, in red, has a much wider spread function.

Read a doc on how to detect low activity comets looking at the statistics of the FWHM.

References : MPEC 2009-F34, IAUC 9029 (subscribers only)