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

C/2019 U6 at perigee

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 Earth, at a distance of 0.82 AU.

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

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18 Jun 2020 – C/2019 U6 at perihelion
22 Jun 2020 – C/2019 U6 reaches its brightest
29 Jun 2020 – C/2019 U6 at perigee
08 Jun 2020PuppisNot observable
10 Jun 2020PuppisNot observable
12 Jun 2020PuppisNot observable
14 Jun 2020HydraNot observable
16 Jun 2020HydraNot observable
18 Jun 2020HydraNot observable
20 Jun 2020HydraNot observable
22 Jun 2020HydraNot observable
24 Jun 2020SextansNot observable
26 Jun 2020SextansNot observable
28 Jun 2020SextansNot observable
30 Jun 2020SextansNot observable
02 Jul 2020SextansNot observable
04 Jul 2020LeoNot observable
06 Jul 2020LeoNot observable
08 Jul 2020LeoNot observable
10 Jul 2020LeoNot observable
12 Jul 2020VirgoVisible from 21:49 until 21:52
Highest at 21:49, 22° above W horizon
14 Jul 2020VirgoVisible from 21:49 until 22:00
Highest at 21:49, 23° above W horizon
16 Jul 2020VirgoVisible from 21:45 until 22:06
Highest at 21:45, 26° above W horizon
18 Jul 2020VirgoVisible from 21:45 until 22:13
Highest at 21:45, 27° above W horizon

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.

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 7 at perigee. 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 10h15m40s 3°46'S Sextans 6.6

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 29 June 2020
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

8-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


8 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:52 13:05 20:17
Venus 03:33 10:40 17:46
Moon 14:31 20:20 01:31
Mars 00:34 06:28 12:22
Jupiter 21:26 02:08 06:51
Saturn 21:43 02:30 07:18
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 05 May 2021.

Image credit

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






Color scheme