© Andy Roberts 1997. Pictured comet is C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp.

C/2016 M1 (PANSTARRS) at perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Comet C/2016 M1 (PANSTARRS) will make its closest approach to the Sun, at a distance of 2.22 AU.

From Fairfield the 2018 apparition of C/2016 M1 (PANSTARRS) will progress as follows:

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24 Jun 2018 – C/2016 M1 (PANSTARRS) at perigee
28 Jun 2018 – C/2016 M1 (PANSTARRS) reaches its brightest
10 Aug 2018 – C/2016 M1 (PANSTARRS) at perihelion
20 Jul 2018NormaNot observable
22 Jul 2018NormaNot observable
24 Jul 2018NormaNot observable
26 Jul 2018NormaNot observable
28 Jul 2018NormaNot observable
30 Jul 2018NormaNot observable
01 Aug 2018CircinusNot observable
03 Aug 2018CircinusNot observable
05 Aug 2018CircinusNot observable
07 Aug 2018CircinusNot observable
09 Aug 2018CircinusNot observable
11 Aug 2018CircinusNot observable
13 Aug 2018CircinusNot observable
15 Aug 2018CircinusNot observable
17 Aug 2018CircinusNot observable
19 Aug 2018CircinusNot observable
21 Aug 2018CircinusNot observable
23 Aug 2018CentaurusNot observable
25 Aug 2018CentaurusNot observable
27 Aug 2018CentaurusNot observable
29 Aug 2018CentaurusNot observable

A more detailed table of C/2016 M1 (PANSTARRS)'s position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of C/2016 M1 (PANSTARRS) is available here.

At the moment of perihelion it will not be observable because it will lie so far south that it never rises above the horizon.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of C/2016 M1 (PANSTARRS) over the course of its apparition, as calculated from the orbital elements published by the Minor Planet Center (MPC). It 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. It was produced using StarCharter.

Comet brightnesses

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.

No estimate for the brightness of comet C/2016 M1 (PANSTARRS) is currently available.

The comet's position at perihelion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet C/2016 M1 (PANSTARRS) 15h02m10s -57°00' Circinus 9.2

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 10 August 2018
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

28-day old moon
Waning Crescent


28 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:56 12:41 19:27
Venus 09:53 15:49 21:44
Moon 05:04 12:16 19:28
Mars 19:30 23:51 04:16
Jupiter 13:18 18:26 23:34
Saturn 17:10 21:48 02:30
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 05 Mar 2021.

Image credit

© Andy Roberts 1997. Pictured comet is C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp.






Color scheme