Saturday, February 2, 2008

12 mag. comet discovered in China?

This just in: "Xingming Observation Nova Survey may find a 12 mag new comet, the first iamge back from 30th.Jan Now It needs your help to confirm it. The comet is very bright and move fast, I suggest it is not too far from the earth." So says an announcement on the Comets Mailing List from a few minutes ago.

The NEO Confirmation Page is actually here; the object has the temporary designation XM08AA. And the observatory with the international code C42 is on Mt. Nanshan in the Chinese province Xinjiang. (It's not clear to me yet how Xingming Obs. where the nova search takes place [see also this forum ...] is related to Urumqi Observatory of the Chinese National Astronomical Observatories which is best known for its radio telescope.)

In other news yesterday's Venus/Jupiter conjunction has also been seen in Austria, and only negative reports about the star occultation by Vinata have come in so far. Perhaps observers will have more luck with a star occultation by Lowell (again a small body but a 4th mag. star!) on April 11, visible e.g. in Southern Scandinavia.

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