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

15P/Finlay at perigee

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Comets feed

Objects: 15P/Finlay
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The sky at

Comet 15P/Finlay will make its closest approach to the Earth, at a distance of 1.10 AU.

From Fairfield the 2021 apparition of 15P/Finlay will progress as follows:

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18 Jun 2021 – 15P/Finlay at perigee
07 Jul 2021 – 15P/Finlay reaches its brightest
14 Jul 2021 – 15P/Finlay at perihelion
28 May 2021PiscesNot observable
30 May 2021PiscesNot observable
01 Jun 2021CetusNot observable
03 Jun 2021CetusNot observable
05 Jun 2021CetusNot observable
07 Jun 2021CetusNot observable
09 Jun 2021CetusNot observable
11 Jun 2021CetusNot observable
13 Jun 2021PiscesNot observable
15 Jun 2021PiscesNot observable
17 Jun 2021PiscesNot observable
19 Jun 2021PiscesNot observable
21 Jun 2021PiscesNot observable
23 Jun 2021CetusNot observable
25 Jun 2021CetusNot observable
27 Jun 2021AriesNot observable
29 Jun 2021AriesNot observable
01 Jul 2021AriesNot observable
03 Jul 2021AriesNot observable
05 Jul 2021AriesNot observable
07 Jul 2021AriesNot observable

A more detailed table of 15P/Finlay's position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of 15P/Finlay is available here.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of 15P/Finlay 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 For most comets, we do not publish any magnitude estimates at all.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 9 at perigee. This estimate is based on observations that the BAA has received from amateur astronomers, assuming that its current level of activity will remain constant.

This comet is not expected to be visible to the naked eye, but might be visible through bird-watching binoculars.

The comet's position at perihelion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet 15P/Finlay 01h46m10s 6°08'N Pisces 8.7

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 18 June 2021
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

8-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


8 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 04:57 12:08 19:19
Venus 06:58 14:31 22:04
Moon 13:20 19:43 01:52
Mars 08:12 15:31 22:51
Jupiter 00:02 05:23 10:45
Saturn 23:10 04:08 09:07
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 15 Mar 2021.

Image credit

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






Color scheme