The comet Kohoutek was discovered and named after a Czech astronomer Lubos Kohoutek on 7th March, 1973. He is known for discovering various comets and asteroids, one of which include Apollo asteroid 1865 Cerberus. His area of interest was physics and astronomy, which he studied at the universities in Brno and Prague.
The observations include:
- The comet was described by Lubos as diffused and condensed.
- At great distances from the sun, it appears as a fuzzy object whereas when closer to the sun, the appearance changes and it appears to be bright at the centre.
- William A Deutschman’s approach concluded that the magnitude by postperihelion was dimmer and decreased as compared to the magnitude before the perihelion.
According to Lubos’ observation, the magnitude was about 14. But J.H. Bulgar from Harvard College Observatory, Agassiz station revised it to 15 based on his observation of the comet on 27th February. Further investigation revealed the magnitude was not brighter than 18, but it was noted to be to be 19.5 in 1986.
The perihelion distance was 1.57 AU and was decreased to 0.142 AU when it passed Jupiter. Various other calculations were made that revised the distance to 2.51 AU.
The orbital period of this comet was 6.23 years
The comet was recovered on 30th July, 1986 by T. Gehrels and J.V. Scotti. It was last seen on 19th May 1988.
Kohoutek encountered earth and was closest to it on 13th January, 1988 with a magnitude of around 13. It is also expected to encounter Jupiter in 2032.
The comet is expected to reappear in 2014, 2021 and 2027.