Slooh Members Discover Brightening of Comet Tenagra, a Centaur Comet

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In late February, Slooh members detected a sudden brightening of Comet C/2013 C2 (Tenegra) using the Slooh C1 telescope in Chile. The distant comet brightened by a factor of twenty from magnitude 19.5 to 16.2 over three days from February 19-22, 2015.

Discovered on February 14, 2013 at the Tenagra Observatory in Arizona, Comet Tenegra appears to be a somewhat rare “Centaur”, an object that has characteristics of both a comet and an asteroid, and which has a perihelion out near the orbit of Saturn.

The orbital period of Comet Tenagra is 64.3 years, but like all Centaur-type objects, its orbital path is not stable over the long term. As the comet interacts gravitationally with the large planets of the outer solar system, its orbit will likely change over the course of 10 million years or so.

Comet Tenagra will reach perihelion in late August 2015. It may have more surprises in store, and Slooh members will be on the lookout for more activity as the comet gets closer to the Sun.

 

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