Comet IRAS-Araki-Alcock (1983 H1)
Comet IRAS-Araki-Alcock (1983 H1) is a long-period comet (period approximately 1000 years) that made a very close approach to the Earth (within 5 million km) in May 1983. Although the comet was a small one, its proximity to the Earth meant that it was an easy naked-eye object for a few nights. It was first detected by the Infra-Red Astronomy Satellite (IRAS) on 25 April and found independently by the Japanese amateur astronomer Genich Araki and English amateur astronomer George Alcock on 03 May.
The comet was moving very quickly and was only visible for seven nights. The first observations by members of OASI were on 07 May during a meteor watch at Martin Cook's house; the ephemeris published by The Astronomer was used to locate the object in Draco. It appeared initially as a diffuse, though surprisingly bright, blur in binoculars. Late in the night, it was visible to the naked eye, but very faint. On successive nights, the comet steadily brightened and moved from Draco into Ursa Minor, Ursa Major and Cancer before becoming lost in the glow of sunset. The comet became easily visible to the naked eye, appearing as a large, round, fuzzy patch with no apparent tail. The telescope showed a nucleus which was clearly asymmetric with respect to the surrounding diffuse material.