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57P/du Toit-Neujmin-Delporte
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57P/du Toit-Neujmin-Delporte

Periodic comet 57P/du Toit-Neujmin-Delporte was discovered in 2002 to have broken up into 19 fragments.

Comet parameters

Diameter:? km
Orbital period:6.42 years
Orbital eccentricity:0.499
Orbital inclination:2.8 degrees


The comet has many co-discoverer and a complicated discovery history due to unreliable communcations during World War II. Daniel du Toit discovered the comet on July 18, 1941 working at Boyden Station, South Africa. His cabled message about the comet did not reach his employer, Harvard College Observatory, until July 27. During a routine asteroid search, Grigory N. Neujmin (Simeis Observatory, Soviet Union) found the comet on a photographic plate exposed July 25. He confirmed his own observation on July 29, but the radiogram from Moscow took 20 days to reach Harvard. The official announcement of the new comet finally happened on August 20, 1941. A few days later, it became known that Eugène Joseph Delporte at the Royal Observatory, Belgium, also had found the comet on August 19, so he was added to the list of discoverers.

A few weeks later, news from Paul Ahnert at Sonneberg, Germany reached Harvard that he also observed the new comet on July 22, but it was too late to recognize his contribution.

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