Last updated 29 Apr 2024

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P/2006 U1 (LINEAR)

Added to the NEO Confirmation Page on 2006 Oct 19th, hours after discovery by the LINEAR project, various observers immediately recognised this object as a comet, having a long straight and very thin tail. Formal announcement of comet P/2006 U1 (LINEAR) was made in  IAUC 8763 (subscription required) on 2006 Oct 21 with descriptions of the comet describing an almost stellar coma and a tail from 6-12' long. Eric Christensen from the Catalina Sky Survey, using the 1.5-m telescope at Mt. Lemmon noted that the tail appeared nearly disconnected from the head, with the main mass of the tail starting about 1' from the head.

The comet was at perihelion in late Aug 2006 at a distance from the Sun of only 0.51 AU and was discovered when it was at a distance from the Sun of 1.1 AU and just 0.4 AU from Earth, as it pulled away from the glare of the Sun. Likely to be visible until the end of 2006 the comet can make close approaches to the Earth at its ascending node if perihelion occurs near mid June. However, at the time of writing (2006 Oct 28)  it appears likely to have been so badly placed at its previous return in Dec 2001/Jan 2002 that it would have not been detectable at all. The next indicated return some time around Apr 2011 may only allow detection for a limited period of time in the weeks before perihelion. 


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