Objects in your sky: Comets

by Dominic Ford

Below is a list of the brightest few comets that are visible at present.

You are welcome to reproduce the text below for non-profit purposes, providing you credit In-The-Sky.org.

Comet name Mag Constellation Separation
from Sun
Trend Latest observation from
BAA Comet Section
Comet name Mag Constellation Separation
from Sun
Trend Latest observation from
BAA Comet Section
21P/Giacobini-Zinner9.4Canis Major91°
Fading
(peak at mag 7.2 on 10 Sep 2018)
2 Oct 2018
38P/Stephan-Oterma9.9Gemini106°
Brightening
(peak at mag 9.2 on 2 Dec 2018)
2 Oct 2018
46P/Wirtanen10.3Fornax136°
Brightening
(peak at mag 6.1 on 16 Dec 2018)
2 Oct 2018
C/2016 M1 (PANSTARRS)10.5Circinus55°
Fading
2 Oct 2018
C/2016 R2 (PANSTARRS)10.6Canes Venatici55°
Brightening
2 Oct 2018
64P/Swift-Gehrels11.4Andromeda150°
Brightening
(peak at mag 11.4 on 29 Oct 2018)
2 Oct 2018
69P/Taylor12.2Eridanus140°
Brightening
(peak at mag 11.9 on 2 Dec 2018)
None available
C/2016 N6 (PANSTARRS)12.3Hydra72°
Brightening
(peak at mag 12.2 on 28 Nov 2018)
1 Jun 2018
48P/Johnson12.5Piscis Austrinus120°
Fading
2 Oct 2018
C/2017 S3 (PANSTARRS)12.6Coma Berenices32°
Fading
1 Aug 2018
C/2018 L2 (ATLAS)13.0Serpens Caput35°
Brightening
(peak at mag 12.7 on 11 Dec 2018)
1 Aug 2018
78P/Gehrels13.7Aquarius112°
Brightening
(peak at mag 13.1 on 9 Mar 2019)
2 Oct 2018
240P/NEAT13.8Leo Minor66°
Fading
1 Mar 2018
C/2017 M4 (ATLAS)13.8Hercules43°
Brightening
(peak at mag 12.8 on 3 May 2019)
2 Oct 2018
74P/Smirnova-Chernykh13.9Virgo
Fading
(peak at mag 13.1 on 5 May 2019)
29 Feb 2012
37P/Forbes13.9Pisces137°
Fading
2 Oct 2018
C/2017 T3 (ATLAS)13.9Hydra18°
Fading
1 Aug 2018
C/2018 EF9 (Lemmon)14.2Vulpecula110°
Fading
1 Jun 2018
C/2015 O1 (PANSTARRS)14.2Ursa Major51°
Fading
1 Aug 2018
C/2015 V2 (Johnson)14.9Phoenix114°
Fading
19 Oct 2017
C/2018 N1 (NEOWISE)14.9Libra22°
Fading
2 Oct 2018
65P/Gunn14.9Aquarius127°
Fading
1 Aug 2017
59P/Kearns-Kwee15.1Cancer90°
Brightening
(peak at mag 14.7 on 23 Dec 2018)
31 Dec 2099
C/2014 S2 (PANSTARRS)15.4Centaurus26°
Fading
3 Aug 2016
C/2016 N4 (MASTER)16.5Canes Venatici57°
Fading
2 Nov 2017

The position of each comet is calculated from orbital elements published by the Minor Planet Center (MPC), and is typically known with a high degree of confidence.

Where possible, magnitudes are estimated from observations sent into the BAA Comet Section, as compiled by Jonathan Shanklin. We avoid using the MPC's own magnitude estimates, since they are rarely updated. Nonetheless, comets are intrinsically unpredictable objects, and magnitude estimates must always be taken with a pinch of salt.

Click on the names of individual comets to display six-month ephemerides and finder charts.

Ashburn

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

39.04°N
77.49°W
EDT

Color scheme