David Levy picked up
Comet P/2006 T1 visually using a 0.41-m reflecting telescope, as it
passed about 40' to the north of Saturn just before the start of
morning twilight at around 12h UT on 2nd Oct 2006, from his Jarnac
Observatory near Tucson, AZ.
After being added to the NEO Confirmation page about 8 hours
later the comet was picked up from Great Shefford and along with a
number of other observatories helped confirm the object that morning,
required) was issued announcing the discovery of the new comet.
Comet P/2006 T1 (Levy) is David's 22nd discovery and was found 12
years after the last discovery to carry his name, Comet Takamizawa-Levy,
which was picked up visually in April 1994.
The next morning 2006 Oct 4, the coma
appeared somewhat less dense and was only traceable to a diameter of
3½'. The thin tail extended for 8½' passing close by a 15th
magnitude background galaxy. Parabolic rays can be seen faintly
within the coma. The morning before, on 3 Oct 2006 these features
were hardly visible at all.
Here the image above has been reprocessed with an unsharp mask
and enlarged x2 to enhance the faint detail within the coma.
Within 5 days of discovery, subsequent astrometry of the new
comet revealed that the object is in fact a short period comet
approaching the Sun a little over once every 5 years. Its perihelion
distance places it close to the position the Earth occupies in late
December. However, the current return with T= 2006 Oct 7 and the
previous return in July/August 2001 are both very unfavourable, with
the comet placed close to the Sun throughout the period when at its
On 2006 Oct 27 at about 03:30 UT the
comet passed only about 1' north of the nucleus of the bright galaxy
NGC 3521 in Leo. Imaged here about 90 minutes later the pair are
shown guided at the rate of motion of the comet (smudging the
appearance of the galaxy)
Here, the same exposures are stacked to keep the galaxy NGC
3521 sharp but causing the comet to appear trailed: