Charles Juels (Fountain Hills) repeated his success from the end of 2002
(C/2002 Y1 Juels-Holvorcem) by picking up a 13th magnitude comet in the
dawn sky using a 5" f/5 "comet seeker" with a CCD on 6th
Oct 2003. He subsequently found prediscovery images from 22 Sep 2003.
Rather than being a new find, this one turned out to be the lost comet
D/1978 C2 (Tritton) which was only observed for a month in 1978 (see
At discovery it was apparently undergoing a major outburst, being
about 6 magnitudes brighter than expected from the 1978 return. It was at
perihelion on 24th Sep 2003, 2 days after being first imaged.
fading is evident between images obtained on 10 and 18 Oct 2003, with the
comet becoming more diffuse. Both images have the same scale and
orientation, but the second image has almost double the exposure.
Light mist and last quarter moon 33° away
Further images a week later show a well defined coma and significant
tail. The exposures on 24th and 25th Oct 2003 are 7.5 minutes, about
double that of 18th Oct 2003. The scale is the same as the previous
images, but the field of view has been extended.
When next imaged two months later the comet had faded dramatically. The
ephemeris indicates that the comet should have faded just 0.4 magnitudes
in that time, but the measured magnitude shows a drop of nearly two
magnitudes. The image scale is the same as all the other images on this