Minor planet (4015)

The present photos illustrate this unique observation. They show Minor Planet (4015) = Comet Wilson–Harrington on (a) a blue- (12 min) and (b) a red-sensitive (45 min) plate, obtained on November 19, 1949, with the 48-inch Schmidt telescope at Palomar. The tail is well visible below and to the left of the trail, which reflects the comet's motion during the exposures. These  images were enhanced at the ESO photographic laboratory in Garching in order to better show the tail. The vertical line in the lower right corner of (a) is an emulsion fault.  In (c), the same sky field is shown on a recent plate obtained with the same telescope; there is no diffuse object in the field. Finally, in (d) a 1979 image of minor planet (4015) from a plate obtained with the 48-inch UK Schmidt telescope demonstrates the sharpness of the short trail (at the centre) – there is absolutely no tail visible.

All photos are reproduced at the same scale, approx. 4 arcsec/mm; North is up and east is to the left. On (a) and (b), the distance from the Earth and the Sun was 34 million km and 172 million km, respectively; on (d) the corresponding distances were 58 million and 178 million km. The object appears brighter in 1949 (a, b) than in 1979 (d), partly because it was closer to the Earth, but most probably also because it was at that time surrounded by a small dust cloud.



About the Image

Release date:18 August 1992, 11:04
Related releases:eso9212
Size:3700 x 2625 px

About the Object

Name:Comet Wilson-Harrington, Minor Planet (4015)
Type:Solar System : Interplanetary Body : Comet
Category:Solar System

Image Formats

Large JPEG
3.4 MB
Screensize JPEG
521.0 KB

Colours & filters

Optical Other


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