79P/du Toit–Hartley

79P/du Toit–Hartley or du Toit 2 is a periodic comet, now divided into two parts, in the Solar System with an orbital period of 5.06 years.

79P/du Toit–Hartley
Discovered byDaniel du Toit, Boyden Observatory, South Africa and Malcolm Hartley of the UK Schmidt Telescope Unit, Siding Spring, Australia
Discovery date9 April 1945
1987 IX, 1986q, 79P/1982 C1-A, 1982 II, 1982b, 79P/1945 G1, 1945 II, 1945c
Orbital characteristics
Epoch9 December 2014
Aphelion4.83 AU
Perihelion1.1233 AU
Semi-major axis2.9460 AU
Orbital period5.06 a
Last perihelion13 Sep 2018[1]
23 Aug 2013
Next perihelion2023-Sep-30[2]

It was originally discovered by Daniel du Toit at the Boyden Observatory, Bloemfontein, South Africa (then administered by Harvard College) on 9 April 1945 with a brightness of apparent magnitude 10.[3]

Uncertainties in the calculation of the orbit meant the comet was lost until rediscovered by Malcolm Hartley of the UK Schmidt Telescope Unit, Siding Spring, Australia in 1982, when it was found to have broken into two parts, probably in 1976. Both parts had a brightness of magnitude 17. Observed in 1987, it was missed in 1992 but rediscovered by astronomers at Los Molinos Observatory, Uruguay on 4 March 2003 at magnitude 17. Fragment 79P-B is lost as it only has a 23-day observation arc from 1982.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ MPC
  2. ^ "Horizons Batch for 79P-B/du Toit-Hartley (90000835) on 2023-Sep-30" (Perihelion occurs when rdot flips from negative to positive). JPL Horizons. Retrieved 2022-06-27. (JPL#17 Soln.date: 2021-May-04)
  3. ^ "79P/du Toit-Hartley". Cometography. Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
Numbered comets
79P/du Toit–Hartley Next