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

C/2020 T2 (Palomar) at perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Comet C/2020 T2 (Palomar) will make its closest approach to the Sun, at a distance of 2.05 AU.

From Fairfield the 2021 apparition of C/2020 T2 (Palomar) 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.
10 Jul 2021 – C/2020 T2 (Palomar) at perihelion
19 Jun 2021BootesVisible from 21:55 until 01:39
Highest at 21:55, 60° above SW horizon
21 Jun 2021BootesVisible from 21:55 until 01:30
Highest at 21:55, 58° above SW horizon
23 Jun 2021BootesVisible from 21:56 until 01:22
Highest at 21:56, 57° above SW horizon
25 Jun 2021BootesVisible from 21:57 until 01:14
Highest at 21:57, 55° above SW horizon
27 Jun 2021BootesVisible from 21:57 until 01:01
Highest at 21:57, 53° above SW horizon
29 Jun 2021BootesVisible from 21:54 until 00:53
Highest at 21:54, 52° above SW horizon
01 Jul 2021BootesVisible from 21:54 until 00:42
Highest at 21:54, 50° above SW horizon
03 Jul 2021BootesVisible from 21:55 until 00:34
Highest at 21:55, 49° above SW horizon
05 Jul 2021BootesVisible from 21:55 until 00:26
Highest at 21:55, 47° above SW horizon
07 Jul 2021VirgoVisible from 21:52 until 00:15
Highest at 21:52, 46° above SW horizon
09 Jul 2021VirgoVisible from 21:52 until 00:08
Highest at 21:52, 44° above SW horizon
11 Jul 2021VirgoVisible from 21:49 until 23:57
Highest at 21:49, 43° above SW horizon
13 Jul 2021VirgoVisible from 21:49 until 23:50
Highest at 21:49, 42° above SW horizon
15 Jul 2021VirgoVisible from 21:49 until 23:39
Highest at 21:49, 40° above SW horizon
17 Jul 2021VirgoVisible from 21:45 until 23:32
Highest at 21:45, 39° above SW horizon
19 Jul 2021VirgoVisible from 21:45 until 23:21
Highest at 21:45, 38° above SW horizon
21 Jul 2021VirgoVisible from 21:41 until 23:11
Highest at 21:41, 37° above SW horizon
23 Jul 2021VirgoVisible from 21:37 until 23:04
Highest at 21:37, 36° above SW horizon
25 Jul 2021VirgoVisible from 21:37 until 22:54
Highest at 21:37, 34° above SW horizon
27 Jul 2021VirgoVisible from 21:33 until 22:48
Highest at 21:33, 33° above SW horizon
29 Jul 2021VirgoVisible from 21:32 until 22:38
Highest at 21:32, 32° above SW horizon

A more detailed table of C/2020 T2 (Palomar)'s position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of C/2020 T2 (Palomar) is available here.

At the moment of perihelion it will become visible around 21:52 (EDT), 43° above your south-western horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then sink towards the horizon, setting at 02:05.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of C/2020 T2 (Palomar) 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 C/2020 T2 (Palomar) 14h02m10s 5°33'N Virgo 10.6

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 10 July 2021
Sunrise
05:28
Sunset
20:28
Twilight ends
22:32
Twilight begins
03:24

30-day old moon
Waxing Crescent

1%

30 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 04:09 11:33 18:57
Venus 07:46 14:54 22:01
Moon 05:39 13:33 21:22
Mars 07:58 15:02 22:06
Jupiter 22:35 03:55 09:15
Saturn 21:42 02:39 07:36
All times shown in EDT.

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 23 Jul 2021.

Image credit

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

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Fairfield

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41.14°N
73.26°W
EDT

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