985 days ago
Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Comets feed
Comet 88P/Howell will make its closest approach to the Sun on 26 September, at a distance of 1.36 AU.
From Fairfield on the day of perihelion it will not be observable – it will reach its highest point in the sky during daytime and will be no higher than 12° above the horizon at dusk.
The events that comprise the 2020 apparition of 88P/Howell are as follows:
|17 Sep 2020||Comet 88P/Howell reaches peak brightness|
|26 Sep 2020||Comet 88P/Howell passes perihelion|
The table below lists the times when 88P/Howell will be visible from Fairfield day-by-day through its apparition:
|05 Sep 2020||Libra||Not observable|
|07 Sep 2020||Libra||Not observable|
|09 Sep 2020||Libra||Not observable|
|11 Sep 2020||Libra||Not observable|
|13 Sep 2020||Scorpius||Not observable|
|15 Sep 2020||Scorpius||Not observable|
|17 Sep 2020||Scorpius||Not observable|
|19 Sep 2020||Scorpius||Not observable|
|21 Sep 2020||Scorpius||Not observable|
|23 Sep 2020||Scorpius||Not observable|
|25 Sep 2020||Scorpius||Not observable|
|27 Sep 2020||Scorpius||Not observable|
|29 Sep 2020||Scorpius||Not observable|
|01 Oct 2020||Scorpius||Not observable|
|03 Oct 2020||Ophiuchus||Not observable|
|05 Oct 2020||Ophiuchus||Not observable|
|07 Oct 2020||Ophiuchus||Not observable|
|09 Oct 2020||Ophiuchus||Not observable|
|11 Oct 2020||Ophiuchus||Not observable|
|13 Oct 2020||Ophiuchus||Not observable|
|15 Oct 2020||Sagittarius||Not observable|
A more detailed table of 88P/Howell's position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of 88P/Howell is available here.
The chart below shows the path of 88P/Howell 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.
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 88P/Howell is currently available.
The comet's position at perihelion will be:
The coordinates are given in J2000.0.
The sky on 26 Sep 2020
|The sky on 26 September 2020|
9 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 16 Apr 2023.
© Andy Roberts 1997. Pictured comet is C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp.