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8P/Tuttle (also known as Tuttle's Comet or Comet Tuttle) is a periodic comet in the Solar System. It fits the classical definition of a Jupiter-family comet with an orbital period of less than 20 years, but does not fit the modern definition of (2 < TJupiter< 3).[3] Perihelion was late January 2008, and as of February was visible telescopically to Southern Hemisphere observers in the constellation Eridanus. On December 30, 2007 it was in close conjunction with spiral galaxy M33. On January 1, 2008 it passed Earth at a distance of 0.25282 AU (37,821,000 km; 23,501,000 mi).[3]

Comet 8P/Tuttle
Discovered byHorace Parnell Tuttle
Discovery dateJanuary 5, 1858
1790 II; 1858 I; 1871 III;
1885 IV; 1899 III; 1912 IV;
1926 IV; 1939 X; 1967 V;
1980 XIII; 1994 XV
Orbital characteristics A
EpochJanuary 15, 2008
Aphelion10.376340 AU
Perihelion1.027132 AU
Semi-major axis5.701737 AU
Orbital period13.6 a[1]
Earth MOID0.095 AU (14,200,000 km)[3]
Dimensions4.5 km contact binary[3]
Last perihelionJanuary 27, 2008
Next perihelionAugust 27, 2021[2]

Comet 8P/Tuttle is responsible for the Ursid meteor shower in late December.[4]

Predictions that the 2007 Ursid meteor shower could be expected to be stronger than usual due to the return of the comet,[5] did not appear to materialize, as counts were in the range of normal distribution.


Contact binaryEdit

Radar observations of Comet Tuttle in January 2008 by the Arecibo Observatory show it to be a contact binary.[6][7] The comet nucleus is estimated at about 4.5 km in diameter, using the equivalent diameter of a sphere having a volume equal to the sum of a 3 km and 4 km sphere.[3]

Additional imagesEdit

Animation of 8P/Tuttle from 2005 to 2025
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  1. ^ Ley, Willy (September 1968). "Mission to a Comet". For Your Information. Galaxy Science Fiction. pp. 101–110.
  2. ^ Kinoshita, Kazuo (January 24, 2008). "8P/Tuttle". Comet Orbits.
  3. ^ a b c d e "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 8P/Tuttle". NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. June 6, 2008. Retrieved February 25, 2010.
  4. ^ "Meteor Streams". Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  5. ^ Jenniskens, P.; Lyytinen, E.; Nissinen, M.; Yrjölä, I.; Vaubaillon, J. (December 2007). "Strong Ursid shower predicted for 2007 December 22" (PDF). WGN, Journal of the International Meteor Organization. 35 (6): 125–133. Bibcode:2007JIMO...35..125J.
  6. ^ Schilling, Govert (October 14, 2008). "Comet Tuttle's Split Personality". Science. Retrieved October 25, 2008.
  7. ^ Harmon, J. K.; Nolan, M. C.; Howell, E. S.; Giorgini, J. D. (2008). Comet 8P/Tuttle: Arecibo Radar Observations of the First Bilobate Comet (PDF). 10th Asteroids, Comets, Meteors. 13–18 July 2008. Baltimore, Maryland. Lunar and Planetary Institute.

External linksEdit