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Catalog of Unconfirmed Comets - Volume 2

1900 to the Present

  • Book
  • © 2024


  • First comprehensive evaluation of unconfirmed comets reported from 1900 onward
  • Contains never before published data, images, and records from observatories and historical societies around the world
  • Analyzes trends in the history of comet hunting, including common reasons for false sightings

Part of the book series: Historical & Cultural Astronomy (HCA)

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About this book

This two-volume catalog is the first in-depth investigation of comets that were reported since the 17th century but not confirmed and subsequently lost. Volume 2 covers objects observed between 1900 and the present, a period that was dominated by photographic observations and the detection of much fainter objects.

This book provides a distinctive blend of the historical and cultural aspects of comet hunting and discovery, along with the utilization of contemporary tools in orbital mechanics and data analysis. This comprehensive compilation offers a thorough catalog of unconfirmed comets. Each case encompasses a detailed presentation of observations, a discussion on the observer (when feasible), an examination of the historical context, and a conclusive analysis of the object's nature. The book predominantly showcases original material and photographs sourced from observatories, libraries, and historical societies worldwide; exposing a significant number ofillustrations that have never been previously published.


While some of these unconfirmed comets were determined to be misidentifications of minor planets, artifacts caused by emulsion or optical effects, or inaccurate observations of comets that were already under observation, the Authors did manage to identify numerous objects that were likely genuine comets. These observations hold potential value for the future, as they could be observations of periodic comets yet to be formally identified. In a handful of instances, the Authors were also able to find new observations, which led to the calculation of orbits for the first time, enabling a formal announcement, or identifying suspected comets that were already known to be periodic comets.



Table of contents (1 chapter)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Belleville, USA

    Gary W. Kronk

  • Limburg, Germany

    Maik Meyer

About the authors

Gary Kronk has observed over 200 comets since 1973 and has spent over 40 years researching and writing about the history of comets. He has written ten books, as well as articles for Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, and Stardate magazines. He has authored or co-authored several refereed papers that have been published in the Journal of the International Meteor Organization, Icarus, Earth, Moon and Planets, and the Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage. The co-authored papers were with astronomers Brian G. Marsden, Peter Jenniskens, and Wayne Orchiston. In 1999, Kronk was invited to join the NASA and US Air Force Leonid MAC '99 mission to study the Leonid meteor shower over Europe. In 2003, Kronk spoke at the International Workshop on Cometary Astronomy in Paris, France. The minor planet 48300 was named in his honor.

Maik Meyer has been an avid comet observer since 1987. Always interested in the history of comet hunting and observing, he has specialized in identifying and linking historic comet apparitions with known comets and calculating new and improved cometary orbits. He is discoverer of periodic comet 312P and the namesake of the Meyer group of sunskirting comets which he identified in 2002. The minor planet (52005) was named in his honor. He is co-author of volumes 5 and 6 of Cometography.


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