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Astron. Astrophys. 333, 746-752 (1998)

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Early recovery of Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle *

O.R. Hainaut 1, 2, K.J. Meech 1, H. Boehnhardt 2 and R.M. West 3

1 Institute for Astronomy, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA
2 European Southern Observatory, Casilla 19001, Santiago, Chile
3 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, D-85748 Garching bei München, Germany

Received 14 October 1997 / Accepted 5 January 1998


We present recovery observations of the parent of the Leonid meteor stream - comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle using the Keck II telescope. At recovery, the comet was at [FORMULA]  AU, with [FORMULA], and there was no indication of coma or activity. Pre- and post-recovery observations from 6 observing runs (1994-1997 June) are presented. From these measurements we estimate that the nucleus radius is [FORMULA]  = 1.8 [FORMULA] 0.2 km with a nucleus axis ratio greater than 1.5. As of 6/97 (r  = 3.5 AU), the comet activity had not yet started.

Key words: astrometry – comets: individual: 55P/Tempel-Tuttle – meteors, meteoroids

* Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, La Silla, Chile, and University of Hawaii and Keck observatories on Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Send offprint requests to: O.R. Hainaut, ESO-Chile


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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: April 20, 1998