Countdown to 5,000: SOHO-4990!

Hi All,

Here are all confirmations for February 2024, which conveniently takes us through SOHO-4990!

Soho#  Date/Time of Post  Discoverer     Tel     Group   Images of...
4977  Jan31,24 23:27:36   J.Ruan          C3     Kreutz  Feb01,24
4978  Feb01,24 12:48:34   HT,JR,MB,EB  C3,C2A,C2 Kreutz  Feb01-03,24 
4979  Feb03,24 03:03:18   H.Tan         C3,C2    Kreutz  Feb03-04,24  
4980  Feb03,24 20:15:14   W.Boonplod      C3     Kreutz  Feb04,24
4981  Feb04,24 02:52:21   R.Pickard       C3     Kreutz  Feb04,24
4982  Feb08,24 02:47:41   W.Boonplod      C3     Kreutz  Feb08,24
4983  Feb08,24 14:29:04   E.Banach,H.Tan  C3     Kreutz  Feb08,24
4984  Feb11,24 01:17:10   Z.Yang          C3     Kreutz  Feb11,24
4985  Feb14,24 05:35:46   W.Boonplod      C3     Kreutz  Feb14,24
4986  Feb16,24 19:34:08   H.Tan           C2     Marsden Feb16-17,24
4987  Feb16,24 19:52:40   J.Ruan          C3     Kreutz  Feb16,24
4988  Feb19,24 11:14:17   E.Banach        C3     Kreutz  Feb19,24
4989  Feb25,24 17:19:13   H.Tan           C2     Marsden Feb24,24
4990* Feb26,24 10:52PM    H.Tan          C3,C2   Kreutz  Feb27,24

Note that SOHO-4990 = SOHOHunter #5814. It was suggested by Worachate that SOHO-4986 could be a return of C/2002 R1 (SOHO). This was not an unreasonable suggestion, so I talked with Rainer Kracht about it. He noted that the existing proposed linkage of 2002 R1 == 2008 A3 predicts perihelion on 2024-01-31, so a 17-day difference is not impossible. However, he was unable to link SOHO-4896 (or SOHO-4989) with C/2002 R1, or any other known Marsden comets. So these are listed as new discoveries.

I will also note that I received an email from Robert Pickard reporting a possible (very faint) Kreutz-group comet in HI-1 images from February 21, 2024. I can confirm that report, and it will be STEREO-136. I will wait until the Kreutz comets leave the HI-1 field of view before I post the official confirmation. That's Robert's first STEREO comet, so many congrats to him!

These will be the last SOHO confirmation now until we reach SOHO's 5,000th comet discovery! I am guessing it will happen around the end of this month, as we typically find about ten or so comets in the month of March. But there is some variation on the number, so it could come much earlier, or much later, than that. We will soon find out!

I am sure competition will be very strong when we get close to 5,000. I know how much it means to all you to find these comets, and there will no doubt be many new users also looking. So there will of course be disappointment for those that do not find #5000, but please remember: the discovery of the 5000th comet can only be made possible by the discovery of 4,999 other comets -- and that is something you have all contributed to. So when we do make that discovery, please be rightfully proud of being part of the team that made the milestone possible!

As always, please email me with questions, comments, complaints, concerns, etc.