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

46P/Wirtanen at perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Comet 46P/Wirtanen will make its closest approach to the Sun, at a distance of 1.05 AU.

From Cambridge, it will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible at around 17:22 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 25° above your eastern horizon. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 21:32, 56° above your southern horizon. It will continue to be observable until around 02:27, when it sinks to 18° above your western horizon.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

For more information about its path across the sky, see In-The-Sky.org's ephemeris page for comet 46P/Wirtanen.

This event was automatically generated on the basis of orbital elements published by the Minor Planet Center (MPC), and is updated daily (last update, 24 Mar 2019).

Note that the future positions of comets are typically known with a high degree of confidence, but their brightnesses are often much more unpredictable, since it is impossible to predict with certainty how they will respond as they move closer to the Sun. Magnitude estimates should be assumed to be highly provisional more than a few weeks in advance.

Printable finder charts

Light-on-dark PNG image PDF document
Dark-on-light PNG image PDF document

The exact position of comet 46P/Wirtanen will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet 46P/Wirtanen 03h19m10s +08°25' Cetus 4.2

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 13 December 2018
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

6-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


6 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:14 10:09 15:05
Venus 03:16 08:37 13:58
Moon 11:28 16:43 21:57
Mars 11:47 17:29 23:12
Jupiter 05:56 10:38 15:20
Saturn 08:19 12:53 17:28
All times shown in EST.


The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE405 planetary ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

This event was automatically generated by searching the ephemeris for planetary alignments which are of interest to amateur astronomers, and the text above was generated based on an estimate of your location.

Image credit

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




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