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

C/2019 U6 (Lemmon) at perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Comets feed

Objects: C/2019 U6
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The sky at

Comet C/2019 U6 will make its closest approach to the Sun, at a distance of 0.91 AU.

From Ashburn the 2020 apparition of C/2019 U6 will progress as follows:

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18 Jun 2020 – C/2019 U6 (Lemmon) at perihelion
22 Jun 2020 – C/2019 U6 (Lemmon) reaches its brightest
28 Jun 2020 – C/2019 U6 (Lemmon) at perigee
28 May 2020Canis MajorNot observable
30 May 2020Canis MajorNot observable
01 Jun 2020Canis MajorNot observable
03 Jun 2020Canis MajorNot observable
05 Jun 2020PuppisNot observable
07 Jun 2020PuppisNot observable
09 Jun 2020PuppisNot observable
11 Jun 2020PuppisNot observable
13 Jun 2020PuppisNot observable
15 Jun 2020HydraNot observable
17 Jun 2020HydraNot observable
19 Jun 2020HydraNot observable
21 Jun 2020HydraNot observable
23 Jun 2020HydraNot observable
25 Jun 2020SextansNot observable
27 Jun 2020SextansNot observable
29 Jun 2020SextansNot observable
01 Jul 2020SextansNot observable
03 Jul 2020SextansNot observable
05 Jul 2020LeoNot observable
07 Jul 2020LeoNot observable

A more detailed table of C/2019 U6's position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of C/2019 U6 is available here.

At the moment of perihelion it will not be observable – it will reach its highest point in the sky during daytime and will be 4° below the horizon at dusk.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of C/2019 U6 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 6 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.

This comet is not expected to be visible to the naked eye, but might be visible through bird-watching binoculars.

The comet's position at perihelion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet C/2019 U6 08h54m20s 12°19'S Hydra 6.5

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 18 June 2020
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

27-day old moon
Waning Crescent


27 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:07 14:24 21:40
Venus 04:33 11:40 18:46
Moon 03:56 11:03 18:18
Mars 01:17 07:03 12:50
Jupiter 22:23 03:12 08:02
Saturn 22:40 03:34 08:27
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 30 Nov 2021.

Image credit

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






Color scheme