Comet C/2015 ER61-b, a fragment of comet C/2015 ER61 Panstarrs: 17 June 2017

During our last observation of comet C/2015 ER61 Panstarrs we spotted an apparent fragment. We did send these info to both the Minor Planet Center and the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams and the former just issued a circular announcing it as C/2015 ER61-b.

Comet C/2015 ER61-b Panstarrs and its main companion

Comet C/2015 ER61-b Panstarrs and its main companion

The animation above is based on 11 images , each obtained with 120-seconds exposures, unfiltered, remotely taken with the 16″-f/3.75 Tenagra III (“Pearl”) robotic unit part of Tenagra Observatories in Arizona.  As the animation runs, you can easily see the little fragment traveling with the main nucleus.

The Minor Planet Center issued the MPEC-M09, reporting our observations, as well as earlier, independent observations by other observers. This fragment is now officially named COMET C/2015 ER61-B (PANSTARRS).

Fragment “b” is located about 15″ arcseconds from the main condensation, with a position angle of 245 deg. (West-South-West) respect to it. This fragment looks clearly diffuse.

We will  follow-up this fragment to see its evolution over the time.

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