Aims. We carried out a continuous monitoring of comet 29P/Schwassmann- Wachmann 1 by using medium aperture telescopes with the aim of studying the activity and outburst mechanisms of this comet on the basis of photometric variations.Methods. We used a standardized method to obtain the coma photometry in the filter of the Johnson-Kron-Cousins system. Some abrupt changes observed in the brightness of SW1 suggest important variations in surface activity with time. Results. During our 2002-2007 observational campaign we detected 28 outbursts (of 1 mag or larger) in 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1. A typical outburst is characterized by a rapid increase towards maximum (in a few hours) and a slower decrease toward the quiescent level (in 3-4 days). Given the effective observing time, the average outburst rate is 7.3 events per year. Despite well-sampled data, no signs of a clear periodicity in the outburst occurrence has been found, thus confirming the unpredictability of the activity of this comet.. © 2008 ESO.
- Comets: individual: 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1
- Kuiper Belt
- Meteors, meteoroids