Objects in your sky: Comets

by Dominic Ford

38P/Stephan-Oterma

2018 Nov 11 perihelion[chart]

41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak

2017 Apr 10 perihelion[chart]

55P/Tempel-Tuttle

1998 Jan 19 perihelion[chart]

118P/Shoemaker-Levy

2022 Nov 24 perihelion[chart]

161P/Hartley-IRAS

2026 Nov 28 perihelion[chart]

210P/Christensen

2025 Nov 23 perihelion[chart]

C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp)

1997 Mar 29 perihelion[chart]

C/2009 G1 (STEREO)

2009 Apr 17 perihelion[chart]

C/2012 S1 (ISON)

2013 Dec 01 perihelion[chart]

C/2014 S2 (PANSTARRS)

2015 Dec 09 perihelion[chart]

C/2015 ER61 (PANSTARRS)

2017 May 10 perihelion[chart]

C/2015 V2 (Johnson)

2017 Jun 11 perihelion[chart]

C/2016 M1 (PANSTARRS)

2018 Aug 10 perihelion[chart]

C/2016 R2 (PANSTARRS)

2018 May 09 perihelion[chart]

C/2017 E1 (Borisov)

2017 Apr 10 perihelion[chart]

C/2017 E4 (Lovejoy)

2017 Apr 23 perihelion[chart]

C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS)

2022 Dec 19 perihelion[chart]

C/2017 O1 (ASASSN)

2017 Oct 15 perihelion[chart]

C/2017 S3 (PANSTARRS)

2018 Aug 16 perihelion[chart]

C/2017 T1 (Heinze)

2018 Feb 20 perihelion[chart]

C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS)

2020 May 04 perihelion[chart]

C/2017 T3 (ATLAS)

2018 Jul 18 perihelion[chart]

C/2018 EF9 (Lemmon)

2018 May 21 perihelion[chart]

C/2018 L2 (ATLAS)

2018 Dec 02 perihelion[chart]

C/2018 N1 (NEOWISE)

2018 Aug 02 perihelion[chart]

C/2018 N2 (ASASSN)

2019 Nov 11 perihelion[chart]

C/2018 R3 (Lemmon)

2019 Jun 07 perihelion[chart]

C/2018 V1 (Machholz-Fujikawa-Iwamoto)

2018 Dec 02 perihelion[chart]

C/2018 W1 (Catalina)

2019 May 11 perihelion[chart]

C/2018 W2 (Africano)

2019 Sep 05 perihelion[chart]

C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto)

2019 Feb 06 perihelion[chart]

C/2019 L3 (ATLAS)

2022 Jan 09 perihelion[chart]

C/2019 N1 (ATLAS)

2020 Dec 01 perihelion[chart]

C/2019 U5 (PANSTARRS)

2023 Mar 29 perihelion[chart]

C/2019 U6 (Lemmon)

2020 Jun 18 perihelion[chart]

C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE)

2020 Jul 03 perihelion[chart]

C/2020 K1 (PANSTARRS)

2023 May 09 perihelion[chart]

C/2020 K8 (Catalina-ATLAS)

2020 Sep 14 perihelion[chart]

C/2020 M3 (ATLAS)

2020 Oct 25 perihelion[chart]

C/2020 P1 (NEOWISE)

2020 Oct 20 perihelion[chart]

C/2020 Q1 (Borisov)

2020 Aug 14 perihelion[chart]

C/2020 R4 (ATLAS)

2021 Mar 01 perihelion[chart]

C/2020 S3 (Erasmus)

2020 Dec 12 perihelion[chart]

C/2020 T2 (Palomar)

2021 Jul 11 perihelion[chart]

C/2021 A1 (Leonard)

2022 Jan 03 perihelion[chart]

C/2021 A2 (NEOWISE)

2021 Jan 22 perihelion[chart]

C/2021 D1 (SWAN)

2021 Feb 27 perihelion[chart]

C/2021 F1 (Lemmon-PANSTARRS)

2022 Apr 06 perihelion[chart]

C/2021 O3 (PANSTARRS)

2022 Apr 21 perihelion[chart]

C/2021 P4 (ATLAS)

2022 Jul 30 perihelion[chart]

The position of each comet is calculated from orbital elements published by the Minor Planet Center (MPC).

The brightnesses of comets are estimated from magnitude parameters published by the BAA Comet Section, where these are available. These are computed from the observations they receive from amateur astronomers.

Comets are intrinsically highly unpredictable objects, since their brightness depends on the scattering of sunlight from dust particles in the comet's coma and tail. This dust is continually streaming away from the comet's nucleus, and its density at any particular time is governed by the rate of sublimation of the ice in the comet's nucleus, as it is heated by the Sun's rays. It also depends on the amount of dust that is mixed in with that ice. This is very difficult to predict in advance, and can be highly variable even between successive apparitions of the same comet.

In consequence, while the future positions of comets are usually known with a high degree of confidence, their future brightnesses are not. For most comets, we do not publish any magnitude estimates at all. For the few comets where we do make estimates, we generally prefer the BAA's magnitude parameters to those published by the Minor Planet Center, since they are typically updated more often.

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Ashburn

Latitude:
Longitude:
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39.04°N
77.49°W
EDT

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