Comet C/2017 T1 (Heinze) a candidate for disintegrating

Comet C/2017 T1 (Heinze) with original slightly hyperbolic orbit seems to be a dynamically new comet, coming for a first time from Oort cloud. Apparently the comet got a very small absolute brightness, which puts it way bellow Bortle survival limit which is 10.5 mag for perihelion of this comet. However this comet seems to be much fainter to this, my analysis shows that it absolute magnitude could be under 14 mag, which shows to very small, subkilometer sized nucleus. All similar comets from the past disintegrated during its perihelion passage (C/1999 S4, C/2010 X1, C/2012 S1), so it is a good opportunity to study another small comet. Disintegration can tell us more about composition, mass and dust to gas ratio of this comet. I have used new testing version 0.60 of program KOPR for my light curve analysis.

Getting a MPC data

KOPR software allows to separate a brightest percentile of MPC magnitude data in order to exclude heavily undermeasured data. Brightest 40-percentile seems to provide good data with good scatter within range of 1 mag.

Excluding observations

Unfortunately, data contains a so called “Visual equivalent magnitudes”, which are calculated data. The calculation can unfortunately cause large overvaluing of distant comet magnitudes. Therefore we need to exclude the data from observers who use this method.

The exclusion seems to work good, other data seems to be in line.

Phase correction

Light curve analysis doesn’t count with effect of phase angel, uncorrected observations shows n smaller than 1. Applying phase correction resulting to slightly higher n=1.34. This value was then forced to calculate absolute magnitude for uncorrected observations.

Resulting light curve

Resulting light curve with assumed n=4 parameter after perihelion passage shows a peak magnitude near 11 mag.

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