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

Comet C/2019 N1 (ATLAS) passes perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Comets feed

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 C/2019 N1 (ATLAS) will make its closest approach to the Sun on 1 December, at a distance of 1.71 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 11° above the horizon at dawn.

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 C/2019 N1 (ATLAS) are as follows:

Date Event
01 Dec 2020Comet C/2019 N1 (ATLAS) passes perihelion

The table below lists the times when C/2019 N1 (ATLAS) will be visible from Fairfield day-by-day through its apparition:

Date Constellation Comet visibility
10 Nov 2020VirgoNot observable
12 Nov 2020VirgoNot observable
14 Nov 2020VirgoNot observable
16 Nov 2020VirgoNot observable
18 Nov 2020VirgoNot observable
20 Nov 2020VirgoNot observable
22 Nov 2020VirgoNot observable
24 Nov 2020VirgoNot observable
26 Nov 2020VirgoNot observable
28 Nov 2020VirgoNot observable
30 Nov 2020VirgoNot observable
02 Dec 2020HydraNot observable
04 Dec 2020HydraNot observable
06 Dec 2020HydraNot observable
08 Dec 2020HydraNot observable
10 Dec 2020HydraNot observable
12 Dec 2020HydraNot observable
14 Dec 2020CentaurusNot observable
16 Dec 2020CentaurusNot observable
18 Dec 2020CentaurusNot observable
20 Dec 2020CentaurusNot observable

A more detailed table of C/2019 N1 (ATLAS)'s position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of C/2019 N1 (ATLAS) is available here.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of C/2019 N1 (ATLAS) 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/2019 N1 (ATLAS) is currently available.

The comet's position at perihelion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet C/2019 N1 (ATLAS) 13h57m20s 22°05'S Virgo 11.2

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 01 Dec 2020

The sky on 01 December 2020
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

16-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


16 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:07 10:58 15:49
Venus 04:37 09:50 15:03
Moon 16:41 00:20 08:05
Mars 13:43 20:10 02:36
Jupiter 10:17 15:00 19:44
Saturn 10:24 15:09 19:55
All times shown in EST.


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 28 May 2023.

Image credit

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






Color scheme