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C/2015 ER61 (PANSTARRS) reaches its brightest

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Comet C/2015 ER61 (PANSTARRS) is forecast to reach its brightest. It will lie at a distance of 1.05 AU from the Sun, and at a distance of 1.21 AU from the Earth.

From Fairfield however, it will not be observable – it will reach its highest point in the sky during daytime and will be no higher than 14° above the horizon at dawn.

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Based on the absolute magnitude published for this comet by the British Astronomical Association's Comet Section, we estimate that it may reach a peak brightness of around mag 8.

This comet is not expected to be visible to the naked eye, but might be visible through bird-watching binoculars. The brightnesses of comets are often highly unpredictable, since it is impossible to predict with certainty how they will respond as they are heated by the Sun as they move into the inner solar system. Magnitude estimates should be assumed to be highly provisional more than a few weeks in advance.

The path of the comet, on the other hand, can reliably be predicted. The chart below shows the path of C/2015 ER61 (PANSTARRS) over the course of its apparition. It was produced using StarCharter and is available for download, either on dark background, in PNG, PDF or SVG formats, or on a light background, in PNG, PDF or SVG formats.

Alternatively, you can create a textual listing of the comet's position using's ephemeris generator.

The position of comet C/2015 ER61 (PANSTARRS) at its brightest will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet C/2015 ER61 (PANSTARRS) 23h10m00s -00°08' Pisces 7.8

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 04 May 2017
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

8-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


8 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:06 11:35 18:04
Venus 04:03 10:13 16:22
Moon 14:04 20:40 02:42
Mars 07:03 14:31 21:59
Jupiter 17:10 22:58 04:50
Saturn 23:06 03:51 08:32
All times shown in EDT.


This event was automatically generated on the basis of orbital elements published by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) , and is updated whenever new elements become available. It was last updated on 19 Jan 2020.

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