The LINEAR project announced the discovery of an asteroidal object on images obtained on 2001 January 15.32. The magnitude was given as 15.8. From three precise positions an ephemeris was posted on the Near-Earth Object Confirmation Page of the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (the clearinghouse for observations of comets and asteroids). P. Pravec and L. Sarounova (Ondrejov Observatory) noted a coma 0.3 arcmin across on January 16.03, while M. Tichy and M. Kocer (Klet) noted the object was diffuse with a coma 10 arcsec across on January 16.87.
A rough, unpublished orbit then linked this comet to an object detected by Lowell Observatory's LONEOS program on January 3.28. Additional images were found from the LINEAR program for the period of January 3.31 to January 6.32. LONEOS gave the magnitude of the January 3 object as 17.8, while LINEAR's images of January 3 to 6 revealed magnitudes of 18.4 to 19.2. The LINEAR images would seem to indicate a minor jump in brightness between January 6 and 15.
More detail on Sunflower's observations of this comet may be found at:
Comet 2001A2 Page