Comet 62P/Tsuchinshan is a periodic comet that belongs to the Jupiter family, indicating its orbit is influenced significantly by Jupiter’s gravitational forces. Its discovery is credited to the Purple Mountain Observatory in China.
This comet follows an elliptical orbit around the Sun, and its periodicity is characterized by a relatively short orbital period. Specifically, it completes one orbit around the Sun approximately every 6.4 years. During its perihelion, the closest approach to the Sun, the comet experiences increased solar radiation, leading to the sublimation of its icy nucleus and the creation of a glowing coma and a tail.
The nucleus of a comet is composed of volatile materials such as water ice, carbon dioxide, and methane, along with dust particles. As the comet approaches the Sun, these substances vaporize, creating a bright coma—a cloud of gas and dust enveloping the nucleus. The solar wind and radiation pressure then push these materials away, forming a tail that generally points away from the Sun.
While not as renowned as some other periodic comets, the relatively short orbital period of 62P/Tsuchinshan provides astronomers with frequent opportunities for observation and study.
The comet was imaged on nov 8, 2023, while passing NGC 2545. A few very dim background galaxies are also seen in the image.