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

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko passes perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko will make its closest approach to the Sun on 2 November, at a distance of 1.21 AU.

From Ashburn on the day of perihelion it will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible around 00:14, when it reaches an altitude of 21° above your eastern horizon. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 05:43, 77° above your southern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight around 06:31, 73° above your south-western horizon.

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The events that comprise the 2021 apparition of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko are as follows:

Date Event
02 Nov 2021Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko passes perihelion
07 Nov 2021Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko reaches peak brightness
12 Nov 2021Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko passes perigee

The table below lists the times when 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko will be visible from Ashburn day-by-day through its apparition:

Date Constellation Comet visibility
12 Oct 2021TaurusVisible from 00:14 until 06:11
Highest at 05:36, 75° above S horizon
14 Oct 2021TaurusVisible from 00:15 until 06:13
Highest at 05:37, 75° above S horizon
16 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 00:15 until 06:15
Highest at 05:39, 76° above S horizon
18 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 00:15 until 06:16
Highest at 05:40, 76° above S horizon
20 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 00:16 until 06:18
Highest at 05:41, 76° above S horizon
22 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 00:16 until 06:20
Highest at 05:42, 76° above S horizon
24 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 00:16 until 06:22
Highest at 05:43, 77° above S horizon
26 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 00:16 until 06:24
Highest at 05:44, 77° above S horizon
28 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 00:16 until 06:26
Highest at 05:44, 77° above S horizon
30 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 00:16 until 06:28
Highest at 05:45, 77° above S horizon
01 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 00:16 until 06:30
Highest at 05:45, 77° above S horizon
03 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 00:16 until 06:32
Highest at 05:45, 77° above S horizon
05 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 00:15 until 06:34
Highest at 05:45, 78° above S horizon
07 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 00:15 until 05:36
Highest at 04:44, 78° above S horizon
09 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 23:14 until 05:38
Highest at 04:43, 78° above S horizon
11 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 23:12 until 05:40
Highest at 04:42, 78° above S horizon
13 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 23:11 until 05:42
Highest at 04:41, 78° above S horizon
15 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 23:09 until 05:44
Highest at 04:39, 78° above S horizon
17 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 23:07 until 05:46
Highest at 04:37, 78° above S horizon
19 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 23:04 until 05:48
Highest at 04:35, 78° above S horizon
21 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 23:01 until 05:50
Highest at 04:32, 78° above S horizon

A more detailed table of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko's position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is available here.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko 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 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is currently available.

The comet's position at perihelion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko 07h21m20s 26°25'N Gemini 8.3

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 2 Nov 2021

The sky on 2 November 2021
Sunrise
07:36
Sunset
18:07
Twilight ends
19:38
Twilight begins
06:05

27-day old moon
Waning Crescent

4%

27 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:17 11:55 17:33
Venus 11:42 16:07 20:32
Moon 04:41 11:01 17:09
Mars 06:55 12:20 17:44
Jupiter 14:48 20:00 01:13
Saturn 14:01 18:58 23:55
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 02 Jan 2024.

Image credit

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

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