Comet Section publications

I am gradually compiling links to Comet Section reports that have been published in the Journal. This page will be updated over time.

Notes and preliminary reports

C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) preliminary report (JBAA 130/5): JBAA130-5_James_264-267.pdf

The fragmentation of 2019 Y4 (ATLAS) (JBAA 130/3): jbaa_22450.pdf

2I/Borisov: the first confirmed interstellar comet (JBAA 129/6): jbaa_12901.pdf

Comet prospects for 2020 (JBAA 129/6): jbaa_12902.pdf

Refereed papers

The brighter comets of 2016 (JBAA 130/3): jbaa_22464.pdf

The brighter comets of 2015 (JBAA 129/6): jbaa_20066.pdf

The brighter comets of 2014 (JBAA 129/3): jbaa_18328.pdf


Older items (to be updated)

The majority of Comet Section papers appear in the BAA Journal. This list also includes other papers concerning comets which have appeared in the Journal post 1990.

Visual comet photometry, G S Keitch, 93 (5) 1983 
The Comet Section and P/Halley, M J Hendrie, 94 (1) 1983 
Short-period comet splitting, David W Hughes and Neil McBride, 102 (5) 1992 
John Grigg and the genesis of cometary astronomy in New Zealand, Wayne Orchiston, 103 (2) 1993 
Comet Analyses, J D Shanklin, 105 (6) 1995 
Comet Levy 1990c, J D Shanklin, 105 (6) 1995 
Comet Prospects for 1996, J D Shanklin, 105 (6) 1995 
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 1991a1, J D Shanklin, 106 (1) 1996 
The comet collision with Jupiter (1), John H Rogers, 106 (2) 1996 
The Comets of 1990, J D Shanklin, 106 (2) 1996 
The comet collision with Jupiter (2), John H Rogers, 106 (3) 1996 
The comet collision with Jupiter (3), John H Rogers, Isao Miyasaki & Sanjay S Limaye, 106 (3) 1996 
Comet Prospects for 1997, J D Shanklin, 106 (6) 1996 
The two bright comets of 1957, Michael J Hendrie, 106 (6) 1996 
The Comets of 1991, J D Shanklin, 107 (4) 1997 
Comet Prospects for 1998, J D Shanklin, 107 (6) 1997 
The Comets of 1992, J D Shanklin, 108 (2) 1998 
Comet C/1996 B2 (Hyakutake): The Great Comet of 1996, Nick James, 108 (3) 1998 
Comet Prospects for 1999, J D Shanklin, 108 (6) 1998 
The Comets of 1993, J D Shanklin, 108 (6) 1998 
Comet Bennett 1969i, Michael J Hendrie, 109 (1) 1999 
Caroline Lucretia Herschel – comet huntress, David W Hughes, 109 (2) 1999 
The Comets of 1994, J D Shanklin, 109 (4) 1999 
Of Comets and variable stars: the Afro-Australian astronomical activities of J F Skjellerup, Wayne Orchiston, 109 (6) 1999 Comet Prospects for 2000, J D Shanklin, 109 (6) 1999 
Comet Kohoutek 1973f, M J Hendrie, 110 (1) 2000 
Tails of the twentieth century, M P Mobberley, 110 (4) 2000 
Comet Prospects for 2001, J D Shanklin, 110 (6) 2000 
The Comets of 1995, J D Shanklin, 110 (6) 2000 
George Eric Deacon Alcock, 1912-2000, Obituary, G M Hurst, 111 (2) 2001
The Comets of 1996, J D Shanklin, 111 (5) 2001
Comet Prospects for 2002, J D Shanklin, 111 (6) 2001 
Early sungrazer comets, K J England, 112 (1) 2002
The Comets of 1997, J D Shanklin, 112 (3) 2002
Comet Kobayashi-Berger-Milon 1975h, M J Hendrie, 112 (4) 2002
The Comets of 1998, J D Shanklin, In Press
Comet Prospects for 2003, J D Shanklin, In Press


Istimirant Stella

Istimirant Stella was the first Section Bulletin, initially edited by A Stephens under the Directorship of Stan Milbourn. The first edition was published in 1973 and it continued until 1987. This index excludes editorials, notices and other minor items. Scans of all editions can be found in the archive here.

  • 1. Feb 1973
    Introducing Comets (Ernest Beet), The Detection of infra red rays from the nucleus of comet Bennett (Rodney Hillier), Comets in 1972, Current comets.
  • 2. Aug 1973
    Concerning comet like nebulosities (Michael Bean), Completing comet report forms (Director), Comets in 1972, Current comets.
  • 3. Jan 1974
    Concerning the observations of envelope and fountaining structures in comets (John Bortle), Magnitude anomolies in diffuse objects (Peter Clayton), Comets in 1974 (Alan Paine), Comet Kohoutek (Director).
  • 4. Jun 1974
    A new theory on the origin of comets (Rodney Hillier), Comets in 1974, Comet Kohoutek 1973f, Comet Bradfield 1974b.
  • 5. Jan 1975
    Magnitude estimates of diffuse objects, Comets in 1973, Comet Bennett 1974h, Comet notes from other journals.
  • 6. Jun 1975
    Comet sweeping – my way (Stan Milbourn), Halleys Comet, Comets in 1973, Comet Kohoutek: a literature guide (G J Hodgkinson)
  • 7. Apr 1976
    My method of comet hunting (John Bortle, Christopher St John Kear, Keith Sturdy), Great Comet West 1975n (Stan Milbourn), Comet Bradfield 1976d
  • 8. Jun 1977
    My way (John Lewis, Graham Keitch), Comets in 1974
  • 9. Mar 1978
    From the Director (Michael Hendrie succeeded Stan Milbourn on 1977 November 30), Comets in 1975, Comet Kohler 1977m.
  • 10. Sep 1978
    From the Director (Stan Milbourn took over as newsletter editor), Recording visual observation of comets (Paul Doherty), Photographic comet seeking (Michael Hendrie), Comets in 1975.
  • 11. Mar 1979
    Instruments for comet work (Graham Keitch), The observation of cometary tails and heads (E J Crick), Comets in 1976 (Stan Milbourn)
  • 12. Sept 1979
    Binoculars for the comet observer (Graham Keitch), Comets in 1977 (Stan Milbourn).
  • 13. Mar 1980
    Reporting observations (Michael Hendrie), Instruments for comet work (I G Jackson), Films for astrophotography (G J Hodgkinson), Comet Meier 1978f (Michael Hendrie), Comet Meier 1979i (Michael Hendrie), Comet Bradfield 1979l (Michael Hendrie), Comets in 1977 (Stan Milbourn).
  • 14. Oct 1980
    Comet Stephan-Oterma 1980g (Michael Hendrie), Comet Bowell 1980b (Michael Hendrie), Comet Cernis-Petrauskas 1980k (Michael Hendrie), Comet P/Tuttle 1980h (Harold Ridley), Comets in 1978 (Stan Milbourn).
  • 15. Mar 1981
    Prospects for 1981 (Harold Ridley), Comet Panther 1980u (Michael Hendrie, Roy Panther), Atlases, charts and the comet observer (Graham Keitch), Comets in 1978 (Stan Milbourn).
  • 16. Sept 1981
    Comets in 1979 (Stan Milbourn), Reports on observations of comets in 1980 (Graham Keitch).
  • 17. Mar 1982
    Prospects for 1982 (Harold Ridley), Comets: references to the literature of 1981 (G J Hodgkinson), Comet Observations (Graham Keitch).
  • 18. Oct 1982
    Comet observations from polluted sites (David Frydman), Comets: further notes from the literature 1981 – 82 (G J Hodgkinson?), Comets in 1980 (Stan Milbourn), Comet observations (Graham Keitch).
  • 19. Apr 1983
    Program of observations for comet Halley, Prospects for 1983 (Harold Ridley), Comets in 1980 (Stan Milbourn), Comets: notes from the literature of 1982 (G J Hodgkinson), Comet Austin 1982g (Graham Keitch).
  • 20. Oct 1983
    Comets: A Guide to the literature of 1982 – 1983 (G J Hodgkinson), Two low activity comets for 1984 (David Seargent), Comets in 1981 (Stan Milbourn), Comet Observations (Graham Keitch).
  • 21. Apr 1984
    Notes from other Journals (G J Hodgkinson), Prospects for 1984 (Harold Ridley), Comets in 1982 (Stan Milbourn), A summary of observations of recent comets (Graham Keitch).
  • 22. Sept 1984
    Comets – October – December 1984 (Michael Hendrie), Comets Halley and Giacobini-Zinner (Michael Hendrie), Notes from other Journals (G J Hodgkinson), Recent visual comet observations (Graham Keitch), IHW astrometry network workshop (Michael Hendrie).
  • 23. Mar 1985
    Notes from other Journals (Gerald Hodgkinson), Prospects for 1985 (Harold Ridley), Comets in 1983 (Stan Milbourn), Observations of recent comets by members (Michael Hendrie).
  • 24. Sept 1985
    P/Giacobini-Zinner 1984e – Recent visual observations (Graham Keitch).
  • 25. Sept 1986
    The visual program (Graham Keitch), Reginald Waterfield (Michael Hendrie), Comet nucleus sample return mission (Graham Keitch), Notes on recent comets (Michael Hendrie), Prospects for 1986 (Harold Ridley), Notes from other Journals (Gerald Hodgkinson), Comets in 1984 (Stan Milbourn).
  • 26. Feb 1987
    Halley’s comet – report on 2 meetings (Jonathan Shanklin), Prospects for 1987 (Stan Milbourn), Notes from other Journals (Gerald Hodgkinson), Visual observations of comets (Graham Keitch)

Comet Section Newsletter

Graham Keitch produced a series of bulletins, specifically targeted at observations of comet Halley under the heading “UK Visual Observations of Comet Halley”. These appeared as: No 1. June 1985, No 2. August 1985, No 3. December 1985. Istimirant Stella was superseded by occasional bulletins produced by Graham Keitch when he became Section Director. The series continued in 1991 with newsletters produced by Denis Buczynski under the Directorship of Jonathan Shanklin. Scans of these can be found in the archive here.

  • 1. Jan 1989
    Comet news, Prospects for 1989 (Harold Ridley)
  • 2. July 1989
    Comet news
  • 3. July 1989
    Recovery of P/Brorsen-Metcalf
  • 4. Sept 1989
    New comets
  • 1991/1. Jan 1991
    New comets, Prospects for 1991 (Harold Ridley)
  • 1991/2. May 1991
    Submission of visual observations (Guy Hurst), News from IAUCs (Denis Buczynski), Comet Section Report forms (Jonathan Shanklin), ESO Press Release on comet Halley.
  • 1992/1. Jan 1992
    Photographic comet seeking (Michael Hendrie), Prospects for 1992 (Harold Ridley), News from IAUC.
  • 1992/2. Nov 1992
    Notes and news – comets (Jonathan Shanklin), Comet Section Meeting (Jonathan Shanklin), Comet P/Schaumasse 1992x (Harold Ridley), MEPCO 92 (Jonathan Shanklin).
  • 1994/1. Feb 1994
    Prospects for 1994 (Harold Ridley), Lost periodical comets (Alex Vincent), Some thoughts on the future of comet V photometry (Graham Keitch).

The Comet’s Tale

The Comet’s Tale is the current newsletter, first appearing in 1994 May under the editorship of James Lancashire. Regular features included: From the Editor, From the Director, Section News, Comet News, Comet Section contacts, Research notes from selected Journals (Professional Tales), Tales from the Past, Letters, Comet Hunting Comments from Don Machholz, Prospects for (year). Each issue came with an Observing supplement, which gave ephemerides, finder charts and report forms. Scans of older issues can be found in the archive here. More recent issues are online here.

  • 1. 1994 May
    Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 to smash into Jupiter during third week of July (James Lancashire), Recent comet news and thoughts regarding observing techniques (Guy Hurst), The International Workshop on Cometary Astronomy (Jonathan Shanklin), Short notes on computer information (James Lancashire), Cometary collisions at the Royal Astronomical Society (JDS + JAL), Addresses of comet Section members.
  • 2. 1994 November
    The collision between Shoemaker-Levy 9 and Jupiter (David Hughes), Michael Philip Candy (1928 – 1994) (Mike Hendrie), Near Earth Objects (Alex Vincent), IAU resolution on the designation of comets (Brian Marsden)
  • 3. 1995 June
    Comet crash discussed at BAA meeting in Cambridge (James Lancashire), Harold Ridley (1919 – 1995) (Michael Hendrie), The Blasynge Sterre of 1472 (Richard Butterwick + JDS), Hubble dectects comets beyond Neptune (Ron Baalke) [Note this observation was not confirmed], New designations for periodic comets, Computer update.
  • 4. 1995 November
    Comet 1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp) promises to be spectacular (Jonathan Shanklin), Comet 1811 F1 (Flaugergues) (Gary Kronk), DeepSpace [Software review], The Legacy of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 (Jacqueline Mitton).
  • 5. 1996 May
    Preliminary report on Comet Hyakutake (1996 B2) (Nick James), NASA and CNES select science investigations for comet lander (Douglas Isbell), Cometary clouds round other stars (Alex Vincent), Tail length prediction C/1996 B2 (Andreas Kammerer).
  • 6. 1996 November
    Asteroids, Comets and Meteors 96 (Jonathan Shanklin), Report of the Comet Section meeting (James Lancashire), Photographing Comet Hale-Bopp (Michael Hendrie).
  • 7. 1997 May
    Comet of the Century, RAS Discussion Meeting on “Comet-Asteroid Connections” (Jonathan Shanklin), Low-tech spectrometry (Christopher Taylor), CME-Fried Comets (Robert Brown).
  • 8. 1997 November
    The Search for Comet P/Pons-Gambart (Andreas Kammerer), Natural Catastrophes during Bronze Age Civilisations (Jonathan Shanklin).
  • 9. 1998 May
    A May Day in February [Section Meeting review] (Jonathan Shanklin), Close approach Comets (Alan Chamberlin). 10. 1998 October
    The Edgar Wilson Award [CBAT].
  • 11. 1999 April
    International Workshop on Cometary Astronomy (Jonathan Shanklin), A brief history of comets (until 1950) [ESO]. 12. 1999 October
    The Second International Workshop on Cometary Astronomy [Meeting review] (Jonathan Shanklin), Observations of Comet 2P/Encke (Alex Vincent), C/1807 R1 (Great Comet) (Gary Kronk).
  • 13. 2000 April
    A brief history of comets (post 1950) [ESO]. The delta effect (Joe Marcus)
  • 14. 2000 October
    What is the difference between asteroids and comets, The delta effect (Charles Morris), Why study comets ? (Don Yeomans)
  • 15. 2001 April
    George Alcock remembered (Martin Mobberley), The comet man, A C D Crommelin (John Fletcher)
  • 16. 2001 October
    Deep Space 1 encounters 19P/Borrelly (Don Yeomans), P/Pons-Gambart (Volker Kasten)
  • 17. 2002 April
    Joel Hastings Metcalf, minister, humanitarian, astronomer (Richard Didick), Section meeting report
  • 18. 2002 October
    Asteroids, comets and meteors 2002 [Meeting review] (Jonathan Shanklin); 2002 Edgar Wilson awards.

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