Celestial visitors from the edge of the Solar System.
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Christopher K.
Posts: 5480
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA


Post by Christopher K. »

This reliable snowball visits the inner Solar System the most often of any other comet--every two years and four months. It was seen for first time by Pierre Méchain in 1786, and for the second time by the Herschel siblings (not realizing it was the same object) in 1795. Encke determined that comets seen in 1786, 1795, 1805 and 1818 were the same comet.

Now here's something...Jane Houston Jones mentions (correctly) that Encke is currently looping through the Circlet of Pisces low in the western sky this month. She says, though, that Encke can be found with a binocular. I've checked most reliable sources, and Greg Crinklaw's estimate of 9.2 last night (which he made on 2 January and which can be adjusted to 9.1 for this evening) still warrants a small telescope, as Crinklaw recommends.

At any rate Encke is now 0˚57' north-northwest of the F-class, magnitude 4.1 star Iota Piscium.

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