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From: TerryMosel@aol.com
Date: Sat, 28 Dec 2002 09:55:39 EST
Subject: Comet & Party

Hi all,

Here are the latest elements for Comet C / 2002 X% Kudo-Fujikawa, courtesy of 
Prof Mark Bailey.

T = 2003 Jan 29 .0027
Eccentricity (e) = 1.0
q = 0.190040
omega (peri) = 187.5663
OMEGA ((Node) = 119.0697
Inclination (i) = 94.1530

It is currently predicted to be almost 6th magnitude, and could attain 
visibility with the unaided eye in the first half of January. It then 
brightens further, predicted to reach 2nd magnitude in the third week of 
January, but will then be getting very close to the Sun.

It is still just circumpolar, particularly for observers in the North, but is 
gradually moving south-eastwards, through Hercules. You can just find it low 
in the NW sky as soon as it gets dark; it then passes just above the N 
horizon under the Pole at Lower Culmination, and rises again getting 
reasonably high in the NE sky just before dawn.

If you don't have a skycharting programme with the facility to insert new 
elements, here are some positions for the next week or so, at 0h on each 
date:

               RA   (2000.0)    Dec
Dec 28: 17h 39.93m  +33d 44.5'
Dec 30: 17h 54.78m  +31d 04.1'
Jan 01:  18h 09.05m  +28d 30.3'
Jan 03:  18h 22.70m  +25d 48.9'
Jan 05:  18h 35.74m  +23d 00.9'
Jan 07:  18h 48.15m  +20d 07.4'

IAA XMAS /NEW YEAR PARTY: Don't forget to book your ticket(s) for the social 
event of the year, on Saturday 4 January, 7.30 p.m., at the Tudor Private 
Cinema, Comber. The film is 'Space Cowboys', and a great selection of buffet 
food & drinks are included in the price. Full details were sent out with 
STARDUST: if you've lost them, or didn't get them, contact me immediately by 
return, or John Hall, tel 9084 3109, or email at <
jimmyaquarius@btinternet.com>.  Great fun, and great value, with various 
family tickets available.

You can also try to spot Mercury low in the SSW sky for the next few 
evenings: if you have never seen it in the month of December, now's a good 
chance to try to do so. Look from about 16.50 to 17.30. This evening (and for 
the next 2 evenings or so) you can locate it by taking the mid-point of the 
line between Vega and Deneb and continuing it down through Altair almost to 
the horizon. It will appear as a faint pinkish 'star' in the twilight: 
binoculars will help you to locate it first. But don't look until AFTER the 
Sun has set!

Happy New Year to you all...

Terry Moseley

Last Revised: 2003 January 7th
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