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

10P/Tempel at perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Comets feed

Objects: 10P/Tempel
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The sky at

Comet 10P/Tempel will make its closest approach to the Sun, at a distance of 1.42 AU.

From Seattle the 2021 apparition of 10P/Tempel will progress as follows:

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.
24 Mar 2021 – 10P/Tempel at perihelion
03 Mar 2021CapricornusNot observable
05 Mar 2021CapricornusNot observable
07 Mar 2021CapricornusNot observable
09 Mar 2021CapricornusNot observable
11 Mar 2021CapricornusNot observable
13 Mar 2021CapricornusNot observable
15 Mar 2021CapricornusNot observable
17 Mar 2021AquariusNot observable
19 Mar 2021AquariusNot observable
21 Mar 2021AquariusNot observable
23 Mar 2021AquariusNot observable
25 Mar 2021AquariusNot observable
27 Mar 2021AquariusNot observable
29 Mar 2021AquariusNot observable
31 Mar 2021AquariusNot observable
02 Apr 2021AquariusNot observable
04 Apr 2021AquariusNot observable
06 Apr 2021AquariusNot observable
08 Apr 2021AquariusNot observable
10 Apr 2021AquariusNot observable
12 Apr 2021AquariusNot observable

A more detailed table of 10P/Tempel's position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of 10P/Tempel is available here.

At the moment of perihelion it will not be observable – it will reach its highest point in the sky during daytime and will be 5° below the horizon at dawn.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of 10P/Tempel 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 11 at perihelion. This estimate is based on observations that the BAA has received from amateur astronomers, assuming that its current level of activity will remain constant.

You will probably require a telescope to see this comet. It is unlikely to be visible through bird-watching binoculars, and even less likely to be visible to the unaided eye.

The comet's position at perihelion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet 10P/Tempel 22h26m20s 11°59'S Aquarius 11.0

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 24 March 2021
Sunrise
07:04
Sunset
19:28
Twilight ends
21:16
Twilight begins
05:16

11-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous

84%

11 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:36 12:00 17:23
Venus 07:13 13:18 19:22
Moon 14:24 22:21 06:07
Mars 09:40 17:39 01:38
Jupiter 05:43 10:39 15:34
Saturn 05:15 09:55 14:35
All times shown in PDT.

Source

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 15 Mar 2021.

Image credit

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

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