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

46P/Wirtanen reaches its brightest

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Comet 46P/Wirtanen is forecast to reach its brightest. It will lie at a distance of 1.05 AU from the Sun, and at a distance of 0.07 AU from the Earth.

From Minneapolis, it will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 17:47 (CDT) as the dusk sky fades, 28° above your eastern horizon. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 22:32, 67° above your southern horizon. It will continue to be observable until around 04:21, when it sinks below 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.

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 4.

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 46P/Wirtanen 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 In-The-Sky.org's ephemeris generator.

The position of comet 46P/Wirtanen at its brightest will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet 46P/Wirtanen 04h02m40s +22°24' Taurus 4.1

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 16 December 2018
Sunrise
07:44
Sunset
16:31
Twilight ends
18:17
Twilight begins
05:57

9-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous

61%

9 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:54 10:38 15:23
Venus 03:48 09:03 14:18
Moon 13:20 19:24 00:26
Mars 12:09 17:53 23:38
Jupiter 06:24 10:58 15:31
Saturn 08:46 13:12 17:37
All times shown in CST.

Source

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 20 Aug 2019.

Image credit

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

Minneapolis

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

44.98°N
93.26°W
CDT

Color scheme