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Long-lost comet Pons-Gambart finally returns home

2 Dec 2012, 18:17 UTC
Long-lost comet Pons-Gambart finally returns home
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A comet long considered lost has been found again! Comet Pons-Gambart was discovered on June 21, 1827 by Jean Louis Pons, observing from Florence, Italy and Adolphe Gambart in Marseilles, France. It brightened to the naked-eye limit (between 5th and 6th … Continue reading →

Comet Pons-Gambart, also known as C/2012 V4, photographed on Nov. 30 by Andres Chapman from his Observatorio Cruz del Sur (Southern Cross Observatory) in Argentina. The comet’s bright, condensed center is clothed in a fuzzy coma of vaporizing ice and dust. Click for more photos. Credit: Andres Chapman
A comet long considered lost has been found again!
Comet Pons-Gambart was discovered on June 21, 1827 by Jean Louis Pons, observing from Florence, Italy and Adolphe Gambart in Marseilles, France. It brightened to the naked-eye limit (between 5th and 6th magnitude) and then quickly faded. Pons last observed the comet on July 21, 1827 calling it “very faint”.
With only a month of observations, no one bothered to determine an orbit for the comet until a year later. Based on those calculations, it appeared that Pons-Gambart was like many comets, one-hit wonders destined to never return.
Fast forward to 1917 when a second look at the ...

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