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

67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at perihelion

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

From San Diego the 2021 apparition of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko 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.
03 Nov 2021 – 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at perihelion
07 Nov 2021 – 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko reaches its brightest
13 Nov 2021 – 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at perigee
13 Oct 2021TaurusVisible from 00:02 until 05:51
Highest at 05:16, 81° above S horizon
15 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 00:04 until 05:54
Highest at 05:19, 82° above S horizon
17 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 00:06 until 05:57
Highest at 05:21, 82° above S horizon
19 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 00:03 until 05:56
Highest at 05:20, 82° above S horizon
21 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 00:05 until 05:59
Highest at 05:22, 83° above S horizon
23 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 00:06 until 05:58
Highest at 05:24, 83° above S horizon
25 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 00:07 until 06:02
Highest at 05:25, 83° above S horizon
27 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 00:08 until 06:01
Highest at 05:26, 83° above S horizon
29 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 00:05 until 06:04
Highest at 05:23, 83° above S horizon
31 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 00:05 until 06:04
Highest at 05:24, 84° above S horizon
02 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 00:05 until 06:08
Highest at 05:24, 84° above S horizon
04 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 00:04 until 06:07
Highest at 05:24, 84° above S horizon
06 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 00:07 until 06:11
Highest at 05:27, 84° above S horizon
08 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 23:06 until 05:12
Highest at 04:25, 84° above S horizon
10 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 23:04 until 05:12
Highest at 04:23, 84° above S horizon
12 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 23:01 until 05:16
Highest at 04:21, 84° above S horizon
14 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 23:02 until 05:16
Highest at 04:22, 84° above S horizon
16 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 22:58 until 05:17
Highest at 04:18, 84° above S horizon
18 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 22:57 until 05:21
Highest at 04:17, 84° above S horizon
20 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 22:56 until 05:22
Highest at 04:16, 84° above S horizon
22 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 22:50 until 05:23
Highest at 04:10, 84° 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.

At the moment of perihelion it will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible around 00:06, when it reaches an altitude of 22° above your eastern horizon. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 05:25, 83° above your southern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight around 06:08, 78° above your south-western horizon.

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.

Based on the magnitude parameters published for this comet by the BAA Comet Section, we estimate that it may be around mag 8 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.

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 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko 07h26m00s 26°26'N Gemini 8.3

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 03 November 2021
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

28-day old moon
Waning Crescent


28 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:57 11:38 17:19
Venus 11:02 15:48 20:34
Moon 05:38 11:38 17:27
Mars 06:29 12:01 17:32
Jupiter 14:15 19:38 01:01
Saturn 13:23 18:34 23:45
All times shown in PDT.


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.



San Diego



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