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

Comet C/2020 Q1 (Borisov) passes perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

Comet C/2020 Q1 (Borisov) will make its closest approach to the Sun on 14 August, at a distance of 1.32 AU.

From Fairfield on the day of perihelion it will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 01:00 (EDT) and reaching an altitude of 38° above the eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 04:47.

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The events that comprise the 2020 apparition of C/2020 Q1 (Borisov) are as follows:

Date Event
14 Aug 2020Comet C/2020 Q1 (Borisov) passes perihelion

The table below lists the times when C/2020 Q1 (Borisov) will be visible from Fairfield day-by-day through its apparition:

Date Constellation Comet visibility
24 Jul 2020TaurusNot observable
26 Jul 2020TaurusNot observable
28 Jul 2020TaurusNot observable
30 Jul 2020TaurusNot observable
01 Aug 2020TaurusNot observable
03 Aug 2020TaurusVisible from 04:21 until 04:32
Highest at 04:32, 24° above E horizon
05 Aug 2020TaurusVisible from 04:10 until 04:35
Highest at 04:35, 26° above E horizon
07 Aug 2020TaurusVisible from 03:59 until 04:38
Highest at 04:38, 29° above E horizon
09 Aug 2020TaurusVisible from 03:47 until 04:40
Highest at 04:40, 32° above E horizon
11 Aug 2020TaurusVisible from 03:35 until 04:43
Highest at 04:43, 34° above E horizon
13 Aug 2020TaurusVisible from 03:23 until 04:45
Highest at 04:45, 37° above E horizon
15 Aug 2020AurigaVisible from 03:10 until 04:48
Highest at 04:48, 40° above E horizon
17 Aug 2020AurigaVisible from 02:57 until 04:50
Highest at 04:50, 43° above E horizon
19 Aug 2020AurigaVisible from 02:43 until 04:53
Highest at 04:53, 45° above E horizon
21 Aug 2020AurigaVisible from 02:29 until 04:56
Highest at 04:56, 48° above E horizon
23 Aug 2020AurigaVisible from 02:14 until 04:58
Highest at 04:58, 51° above E horizon
25 Aug 2020AurigaVisible from 01:58 until 05:00
Highest at 05:00, 54° above E horizon
27 Aug 2020AurigaVisible from 01:41 until 05:03
Highest at 05:03, 58° above E horizon
29 Aug 2020AurigaVisible from 01:22 until 05:05
Highest at 05:05, 61° above E horizon
31 Aug 2020AurigaVisible from 01:02 until 05:08
Highest at 05:08, 64° above E horizon
02 Sep 2020AurigaVisible from 00:40 until 05:10
Highest at 05:10, 67° above E horizon

A more detailed table of C/2020 Q1 (Borisov)'s position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of C/2020 Q1 (Borisov) is available here.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of C/2020 Q1 (Borisov) 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 C/2020 Q1 (Borisov) is currently available.

The comet's position at perihelion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet C/2020 Q1 (Borisov) 05h37m00s 28°16'N Taurus 11.8

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 14 Aug 2020

The sky on 14 August 2020
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

25-day old moon
Waning Crescent


25 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:41 12:46 19:50
Venus 02:28 09:46 17:04
Moon 01:12 08:53 16:39
Mars 22:30 04:52 11:13
Jupiter 17:58 22:37 03:15
Saturn 18:27 23:11 03:56
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 Jul 2024.

Image credit

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





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