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

168P/Hergenrother at perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Comet 168P/Hergenrother will make its closest approach to the Sun, at a distance of 1.36 AU.

From Fairfield the 2019 apparition of 168P/Hergenrother will progress as follows:

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.
06 Aug 2019 – 168P/Hergenrother at perihelion
16 Jul 2019AriesVisible from 02:55 until 04:14
Highest at 04:14, 37° above E horizon
18 Jul 2019AriesVisible from 02:49 until 04:16
Highest at 04:16, 38° above E horizon
20 Jul 2019AriesVisible from 02:43 until 04:19
Highest at 04:19, 40° above E horizon
22 Jul 2019AriesVisible from 02:38 until 04:21
Highest at 04:21, 41° above E horizon
24 Jul 2019AriesVisible from 02:32 until 04:23
Highest at 04:23, 42° above E horizon
26 Jul 2019AriesVisible from 02:26 until 04:26
Highest at 04:26, 44° above E horizon
28 Jul 2019AriesVisible from 02:21 until 04:28
Highest at 04:28, 45° above E horizon
30 Jul 2019AriesVisible from 02:15 until 04:31
Highest at 04:31, 47° above E horizon
01 Aug 2019AriesVisible from 02:10 until 04:33
Highest at 04:33, 49° above E horizon
03 Aug 2019AriesVisible from 02:05 until 04:36
Highest at 04:36, 50° above E horizon
05 Aug 2019TaurusVisible from 02:00 until 04:39
Highest at 04:39, 51° above E horizon
07 Aug 2019TaurusVisible from 01:54 until 04:41
Highest at 04:41, 53° above E horizon
09 Aug 2019TaurusVisible from 01:49 until 04:44
Highest at 04:44, 54° above E horizon
11 Aug 2019TaurusVisible from 01:44 until 04:46
Highest at 04:46, 56° above E horizon
13 Aug 2019TaurusVisible from 01:39 until 04:49
Highest at 04:49, 57° above E horizon
15 Aug 2019TaurusVisible from 01:34 until 04:52
Highest at 04:52, 58° above E horizon
17 Aug 2019PerseusVisible from 01:30 until 04:54
Highest at 04:54, 60° above E horizon
19 Aug 2019PerseusVisible from 01:25 until 04:57
Highest at 04:57, 60° above E horizon
21 Aug 2019PerseusVisible from 01:20 until 04:59
Highest at 04:59, 62° above E horizon
23 Aug 2019PerseusVisible from 01:15 until 05:02
Highest at 05:02, 62° above E horizon
25 Aug 2019PerseusVisible from 01:11 until 05:04
Highest at 05:04, 64° above E horizon

A more detailed table of 168P/Hergenrother's position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of 168P/Hergenrother is available here.

At the moment of perihelion it will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 23:38 (EST) and reaching an altitude of 52° above the eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 04:37.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of 168P/Hergenrother 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.

Based on the magnitude parameters published for this comet by the BAA Comet Section, we estimate that it may be around mag 12 at perihelion. This estimate is based on observations that the BAA has received from amateur astronomers, assuming that its current level of activity will remain constant.

You will probably require a telescope to see this comet. It is unlikely to be visible through bird-watching binoculars, and even less likely to be visible to the unaided eye.

The comet's position at perihelion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet 168P/Hergenrother 03h32m20s +26°04' Taurus 11.5

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 06 August 2019
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

5-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


5 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 04:29 11:41 18:54
Venus 05:41 12:52 20:02
Moon 12:29 18:05 23:41
Mars 06:37 13:35 20:33
Jupiter 16:04 20:45 01:29
Saturn 18:18 22:57 03:41
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 06 Dec 2020.

Image credit

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






Color scheme