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Massive outburst of 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1

ATel #2417; Josep M. Trigo-Rodriguez (CSIC-IEEC)
on 3 Feb 2010; 17:39 UT
Distributed as an Instant Email Notice Comets
Credential Certification: Josep M. Trigo-Rodriguez (trigo@ieec.uab.es)

Subjects: Comet

A continuous photometric monitoring of Centaur 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 is being currently performed from Spain. We have analyzed multi-band images taken in V, R, and I filters on Feb. 3.181, 2010 by A. Sanchez (MPC442). This object exhibits a stellar appearance in the images with an apparent diameter of 15 arcsec. The derived magnitude of the comet in a 10 arcsec standard photometry field is +11.7 R, +11.5 I, and +11.9 V. These data suggest that this comet is currently experiencing an unusual outburst, probably the brightest in the last decade according the recent photometric compilation by Trigo-Rodriguez et al. (2009) A&A 485, 599. Additional observations obtained in the last month suggest a progressive increase in activity from mid January from a quite inactive 40-days period in which the comet remained close to +16 R magnitude. Other significant observations of our follow-up during the last months are listed: Dec. 20.0400, +16.4 R (J.M. Trigo-Rodriguez, MPC B06); Dec. 25.2482, +16.1 R, and 15.9 I (A. Sanchez, MPC442); Jan. 09.9700, +15.0 R, +15.7 V, and 15.4 I (S. Pastor and J.A. Reyes, MPC J76); Jan. 10.0717, +15.6 R (A. Sanchez, MPC442); Jan. 12.1866, +15.7 R (A. Sanchez, MPC442); Jan. 27.1822, +15.2 R (A. Sanchez, MPC442); Jan. 27.1822, +15.1 R and 15.2 I (D. Rodríguez, MPC 458). Additional observations of this object are encouraged to better understand the physical processes behind the coma evolution after a massive outburst.