Comet list

This is a list of comets that I’ve seen since I started observing in the 1980s. The list is not particularly in date order. The descriptions come from observations I made at the time.I’ve seen two Great comets and lots of others. All different some very interesting. I’ve trawled through my old observing records to compile this list in approximate date order from first to last.

Comet 1P/Halley should be on the list – but I didn’t see it. I was 12 when it was visible in late 1985. Halley wasn’t particularly bright from the UK at that apparition and although I looked for it, I didn’t see it. Oh well. Maybe in 2061?

Comet Hale-Bopp in early 1997 was the brightest. I regret not having a telescope to observe it with at the time. But was impressive enough to the naked eye – low in the north night after night.

The most memorable by far was the great cosmic jellyfish – Comet Holmes! It underwent an outburst and became – briefly – the biggest object in the Solar System. Bigger even than the Sun. The views of Holmes through my 16 inch LightBridge were something I’ll never forget.

Here’s the list:

  1. C/1987 P1 Bradfield
  2. C/1995 C1 Hale-Bopp
  3. 2P/Encke (multiple returns)
  4. 177P/Barnard
  5. 4P/Faye
  6. 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann
  7. 8P/Tuttle
  8. C/2001 A2 (LINEAR)
  9. C/2002 C1 Ikeya-Zhang
  10. C/2002 F1 Utsunomiya
  11. C/2002 T7 LINEAR
  12. C/2002 V1 NEAT
  13. C/2002 X5 Kudo-Fujikawa
  14. C/2004 F4 Bradfield
  15. C/2004 Q2 Macholz
  16. C/2006 M4 Swan
  17. C/2006 P1 McNaught
  18. 17P/Holmes
  19. C/2007 N3 Lulin
  20. 144P/Kushida
  21. C/2009 P1 Garradd
  22. 103P/Hartley (in 2010)
  23. C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS
  24. C/2012 F6 Lemmon
  25. C/2012 K5 LINEAR
  26. C/2012 S1 ISON
  27. C/2012 X1 LINEAR
  28. C/2013 R1 Lovejoy
  29. C/2012 K1 PANSTARRS
  30. C/2014 E2 Jacques
  31. C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy
  32. C/2013 US13 Catalina
  33. 41P / Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak
  34. C/2015 V2 Johnson
  35. C/2017 S3 PANSTARRS
  36. 21P/Giacobini-Zinner (2018 return)

That’s 36 comets as of August 2018.