The brighter comets of 2004

During 2004 48 comets were assigned year designations and 18 previously numbered periodic comets returned to perihelion. 174 comets were discovered from the SOHO satellite; of these 146 were members of the Kreutz group, seven were members of the Meyer group, three of the Marsden group, eleven of the Kracht group and seven were not associated with any known group. There were three amateur discoveries, those of 2004 F4 by Bill Bradfield, 2004 Q1 by Roy Tucker and 2004 Q2 by Don Machholz, for which they gained the Edgar Wilson Award. Eight periodic comets were numbered. Four naked eye comets were seen during the year.

Orbital elements for all the comets discovered and returning during the year can be found on the JPL Small-Body Database Browser, which will also generate ephemerides. Discovery details and some information for the other comets found or returning during the year are available on the Comet Section web pages, which also contain links to additional background information.
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