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

Comet 2P/Encke passes perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Comets feed

Objects: 2P/Encke
Please wait
Loading 0/4
Click and drag to rotate
Mouse wheel to zoom in/out
Touch with mouse to dismiss
The sky at

Comet 2P/Encke will make its closest approach to the Sun on 1 July, at a distance of 0.34 AU.

From Fairfield on the day of perihelion it will not be readily observable since it will be very close to the Sun, at a separation of only 13° from it.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

The events that comprise the 2020 apparition of 2P/Encke are as follows:

Date Event
01 Jul 2020Comet 2P/Encke passes perihelion
03 Aug 2020Comet 2P/Encke passes perigee

The table below lists the times when 2P/Encke will be visible from Fairfield day-by-day through its apparition:

Date Constellation Comet visibility
10 Jun 2020TaurusNot observable
12 Jun 2020TaurusNot observable
14 Jun 2020TaurusNot observable
16 Jun 2020TaurusNot observable
18 Jun 2020TaurusNot observable
20 Jun 2020GeminiNot observable
22 Jun 2020GeminiNot observable
24 Jun 2020GeminiNot observable
26 Jun 2020GeminiNot observable
28 Jun 2020GeminiNot observable
30 Jun 2020GeminiNot observable
02 Jul 2020GeminiNot observable
04 Jul 2020CancerNot observable
06 Jul 2020CancerNot observable
08 Jul 2020CancerNot observable
10 Jul 2020CancerNot observable
12 Jul 2020CancerNot observable
14 Jul 2020LeoNot observable
16 Jul 2020LeoNot observable
18 Jul 2020SextansNot observable
20 Jul 2020SextansNot observable

A more detailed table of 2P/Encke's position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of 2P/Encke is available here.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of 2P/Encke 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.

No estimate for the brightness of comet 2P/Encke is currently available.

The comet's position at perihelion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet 2P/Encke 07h41m50s 21°03'N Gemini 6.2

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 01 Jul 2020

The sky on 01 July 2020
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

10-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


10 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:38 12:50 20:02
Venus 03:25 10:31 17:37
Moon 16:54 22:04 03:07
Mars 00:29 06:25 12:20
Jupiter 21:14 01:56 06:38
Saturn 21:34 02:21 07:09
All times shown in EDT.


Never attempt to point a pair of binoculars or a telescope at an object close to the Sun. Doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness.


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 19 Feb 2023.

Image credit

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






Color scheme