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C/2006 A1 (Pojmanski)

IAUC 8653 (subscription required) announced the discovery by Grzegorz Pojmanski (Warsaw University Astronomical Observatory) of C/2006 A1 from images taken for the All Sky Automated Survey at Las Campanas taken on 2006 Jan. 1 and 4. At that time the comet was estimated to be 1' diameter, from the relatively small scale (15" per pixel) CCD survey images taken with a 180-mm-focal-length f/2.8 telephoto lens.

Pojmanski soon afterwards identified pre-discovery images from 2005 Dec 29 and the comet was also located on SWAN/SOHO images in the ultraviolet back to 2005 Dec 25.

At discovery it was in the far south of the sky at declination -68, approaching Sun and Earth, but already less than 60 apparent elongation from the Sun. Perihelion was due on 2006 Feb 22 at a distance of 0.56 AU but still south of the equator and close to the Sun in the sky.

By the time the image was obtained (above) the comet was moving rapidly north, still only 0.60 AU from the Sun, at an elongation of 37 and was at the closest point it would come to Earth, at a distance of 0.77 AU.

Comet C/2006 A1 (Pojmanski) This inset is the same as the image to the left but reproduced at the same scale as the image above (the image to the left being enlarged by a factor of x3)
In contrast, this image was taken 7 months later, with the comet receding, at a distance of 3.3 AU from Sun and 3.1 AU from Earth, and at its highest northern declination of +81.

The comet was diffuse and very faint, requiring an exposure of more than an hour to record the magnitude +20.7 object.

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