Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Comets feed
Comet C/2018 W2 (Africano) will make its closest approach to the Sun, at a distance of 1.46 AU.
From Cambridge, it will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible around 21:08, when it rises 21° above your north-eastern horizon. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 04:39, 79° above your northern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight around 05:03, 78° above your northern horizon.
Based on the absolute magnitude published for this comet by the British Astronomical Association's Comet Section, we estimate that it may be around mag 10 at perihelion.
You will probably require a telescope to see this comet. It is unlikely to be visible through bird-watching binoculars, and is even less likely to be visible to the unaided eye. 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/2018 W2 (Africano) 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 C/2018 W2 (Africano) at perihelion will be:
|Comet C/2018 W2 (Africano)||02h50m40s||+53°09'||Perseus||9.9|
The coordinates are given in J2000.0.
|The sky on 05 September 2019|
6 days old
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 20 Nov 2019.