Comet Kudo-Fujikawa Rounds the Sun

Comet Kudo-Fujikawa
Michael Jäger used a Schmidt camera and a 10-minute exposure to capture this image of Comet Kudo-Fujikawa on January 1, 2003 at 5:00 UT. The faint tail is about 1° long.
Comet Kudo-Fujikawa (C/2002 X5) was independently discovered in mid-December, 2002, by Japanese amateurs Tetuo Kudo and Shigehisa Fujikawa. The comet is now outward bound after its perihelion passage on January 29th at just 28 million kilometers from the Sun.

The first post-perihelion observations were made by Australian amateurs on February 7th, but the comet's position — low in the evening sky at twilight — made it a difficult target. Argentinian amateur Mariano Ribas reported that he observed the comet on the 12th, at 10:30 p.m. local time, from Buenos Aires. "It was hard to see, even in my Orion ST-90 refractor. I couldn't see any of the tail, and the coma is concentrated." Based on other recent observations, the comet may be fainter than the magnitude predicted in the ephemeris below.

Southern Hemisphere observers can use our interactive
sky chart
to track Comet Kudo-Fujikawa during the next few weeks. The chart's sky is set for 35° south and 150° east at 10:00 p.m. local time; use the "change" buttons to alter the settings for location, date, and time.

The following ephemeris gives the comet's right ascension and declination (equinox 2000.0) at 0 hours UT on each date, its elongation angle from the Sun, predicted magnitude (based on pre-perihelion measurements), and the constellation through which it's passing.

Comet Kudo-Fujikawa
Date
(0h UT)
R.A. (2000)
h   m
Dec.
°   '
Elong.
°
Mag.
Const.
Feb.   9 22 11.8 -38 39 25.6 4.8 Gru
Feb. 11 22 35.4 -40 32 29.3 5.2 Gru
Feb. 13 23 01.0 -41 58 32.9 5.6 Gru
Feb. 15 23 28.4 -42 55 36.5 6.0 Phe
Feb. 17 23 56.9 -43 20 40.0 6.3 Phe
Feb. 19   0 25.8 -43 13 43.5 6.6 Phe
Feb. 21   0 54.3 -42 35 46.9 6.9 Phe
Feb. 23 &nbsp 1 21.7 -41 30 50.1 7.2 Phe
Feb. 25   1 47.4 -40 00 53.2 7.5 Phe
Feb. 27   2 11.1 -38 13 56.1 7.7 For