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

4P/Faye at perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Comets feed

Objects: 4P/Faye
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 4P/Faye will make its closest approach to the Sun, at a distance of 1.62 AU.

From Ashburn the 2021 apparition of 4P/Faye 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 Sep 2021 – 4P/Faye at perihelion
20 Aug 2021TaurusVisible from 02:26 until 05:17
Highest at 05:17, 54° above SE horizon
22 Aug 2021TaurusVisible from 02:24 until 05:19
Highest at 05:19, 55° above SE horizon
24 Aug 2021TaurusVisible from 02:22 until 05:21
Highest at 05:21, 56° above SE horizon
26 Aug 2021TaurusVisible from 02:19 until 05:24
Highest at 05:24, 57° above SE horizon
28 Aug 2021TaurusVisible from 02:17 until 05:26
Highest at 05:26, 58° above SE horizon
30 Aug 2021TaurusVisible from 02:15 until 05:28
Highest at 05:28, 58° above SE horizon
01 Sep 2021TaurusVisible from 02:12 until 05:30
Highest at 05:30, 59° above SE horizon
03 Sep 2021TaurusVisible from 02:10 until 05:32
Highest at 05:32, 60° above SE horizon
05 Sep 2021TaurusVisible from 02:08 until 05:34
Highest at 05:34, 60° above SE horizon
07 Sep 2021TaurusVisible from 02:05 until 05:36
Highest at 05:36, 61° above SE horizon
09 Sep 2021TaurusVisible from 02:03 until 05:39
Highest at 05:39, 62° above SE horizon
11 Sep 2021TaurusVisible from 02:01 until 05:41
Highest at 05:41, 62° above SE horizon
13 Sep 2021TaurusVisible from 01:58 until 05:43
Highest at 05:43, 63° above SE horizon
15 Sep 2021TaurusVisible from 01:56 until 05:45
Highest at 05:45, 63° above SE horizon
17 Sep 2021TaurusVisible from 01:53 until 05:47
Highest at 05:47, 64° above SE horizon
19 Sep 2021TaurusVisible from 01:51 until 05:49
Highest at 05:49, 64° above SE horizon
21 Sep 2021TaurusVisible from 01:48 until 05:51
Highest at 05:51, 65° above SE horizon
23 Sep 2021TaurusVisible from 01:45 until 05:52
Highest at 05:52, 65° above SE horizon
25 Sep 2021TaurusVisible from 01:43 until 05:54
Highest at 05:54, 65° above SE horizon
27 Sep 2021OrionVisible from 01:40 until 05:56
Highest at 05:56, 66° above SE horizon
29 Sep 2021OrionVisible from 01:37 until 05:58
Highest at 05:58, 66° above SE horizon

A more detailed table of 4P/Faye's position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of 4P/Faye is available here.

At the moment of perihelion it will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 23:59 (EST) and reaching an altitude of 62° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 05:40.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of 4P/Faye 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 4P/Faye 05h14m20s 18°19'N Taurus 10.7

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 10 September 2021
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

3-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


3 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 09:01 14:39 20:17
Venus 10:14 15:38 21:01
Moon 10:38 16:15 21:42
Mars 07:30 13:39 19:49
Jupiter 18:21 23:36 04:50
Saturn 17:30 22:28 03:25
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 27 Dec 2021.

Image credit

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






Color scheme