The brighter comets of 2012

80 comets were assigned year designations for 2012, and 21 previously numbered periodic comets returned to perihelion. 230 comets from 2012 were discovered from the SOHO satellite (two were returns) and three from STEREO, though some were found post-2012 in archive images. 190 were members of the Kreutz group, 20 were members of the Meyer group, six of the Marsden group, two of the Kracht group and 12 were not associated with any known group. There were six amateur discoveries (2012 C2, CH17, S1, T7, TK8, WX32) for which Fred Bruenjes, Paulo Holvorcem, Michael Schwartz, Artyom Novichonok, Vitali Nevski, Claudine Rinner and Tomas Vorobjov gained the Edgar Wilson Award. 24 periodic comets from the year were numbered. One comet was reported as visible to the naked eye 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 Section visual observations web pages, which also contain links to additional background information. The raw visual observations for the year are on the Section visual observations web pages in ICQ format and in the Comet Observations Database (COBS). The full dataset from COBS is used for the multi-return analyses presented here, but otherwise only those observations submitted to the Section are used. Additional images of the comets are presented in the Comet Section image archive. (continued…)

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