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Comet Korlevic-Juric found on old photographic plates

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Joined: 25 Aug 2005
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Location: Spain-Germany-Croatia triangle
PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 22:01    Post subject: Comet Korlevic-Juric found on old photographic plates Reply with quote

Hello asteroid and comet students at Visnjan,

as you might know, Visnjan Observatory has so far discovered two comets, P/1999 DN3 (Korlevic-Juric) and P/1999 WJ7 (Korlevic), both in 1999 as the designations indicates. Both comets are of short-period with orbital periods of approximately 10 years. If we assume that comets usually get discovered when they are brightest, i.e. near perihelion, this means that the next chance for observing them again is during their next perihelion, thus about 10 years after the discovery in our two cases. Actually P/1999 DN3 has its next approach to the sun in 2008 while P/1999 WJ7 reaches perihelion in 2010.

Therefore both comets have not been recovered during their second apparition yet... well, that's not not true anymore. A few days ago IAUC 8786 announced the early recovery of P/1999 DN3 (Korlevic-Juric) by E. J. Christensen with the 1.5-m reflector on Mt. Lemmon.

This means that its orbit is now good enough known that the object is ready for numbering, so it will get a number soon, something like 183P/Korlevic-Juric.

Today I thought I could give it a try to precover this comet in old photographic plate archives, namely on digitized plates from the Digitized Sky Survey (DSS) and on those from the first Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (POSS) that are not available in DSS, i.e. the blue ones. Several plates from Palomar Mountain got predicted and finally after checking all of them I found the comet on a red plate from 1989 and a pair of red/blue plates from 1954. On the other predicted plates the comet was too faint to show up.

With these measurements and the resulting observed arc of almost 53 years, the orbit is now known very well.

I have attached three screenshots of the plates that show comet Korlevic-Juric. The pair from 1954 was taken one after the other, first the red one exposed for 40min, then the blue one exposed for 12min. The plate from 1989 was exposed for 55min and the comet is therefore trailed a lot. However it can be easily seen that the trail is not "sharp" as we know it from asteroid trails, but a bit diffuse, clearly indicating a cometary appearance. Each screenshot shows only a very small portion of the plates, about 5 arcmin x 3 arcmin. The full plates show 6.5 x 6.5. North is up and east is left.

Discovery IAUC of P/1999 DN3 (Korlevic-Juric):

Recovery IAUC of P/1999 DN3 (Korlevic-Juric):

Old page on


P/1999 DN3 (Korlevic-Juric) on POSS-I plate se207 from 1954 February 26.


P/1999 DN3 (Korlevic-Juric) on POSS-I plate so207 from 1954 February 26.


P/1999 DN3 (Korlevic-Juric) on DSS plate A0RW from 1989 April 7.

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