50th comet for McNaught

via Sky and Telescope.

Robert McNaught has cemented his position as the foremost discoverer of comets through ‘amateur’ means (as opposed to using things like SoHO to get blobs off the current and archived images, such as these people did). His fiftieth comet puts him eighteen ahead of even Carolyn Shoemaker, number two in the discovery league.

Of the comets he has found, fifteen are periodic (ie will return) and 38 were solo discoveries. He has also notched up 410 asteroids. His first was discovered with an 85mm camera lens, but the instruments he uses now – the half metre telescope at Siding Spring Observatory – obviously help a little, as do the clear Australian skies above that observatory.

And the comet? P/2009 Q5 is a periodic comet, visiting every 18 years.


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