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

67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko reaches its brightest

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is forecast to reach its brightest. It will lie at a distance of 1.21 AU from the Sun, and at a distance of 0.42 AU from the Earth.

From Fairfield 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
08 Nov 2021 – 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko reaches its brightest
13 Nov 2021 – 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at perigee
18 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 23:53 until 06:04
Highest at 05:25, 74° above S horizon
20 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 23:54 until 06:06
Highest at 05:26, 74° above S horizon
22 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 23:54 until 06:08
Highest at 05:27, 74° above S horizon
24 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 23:54 until 06:10
Highest at 05:28, 75° above S horizon
26 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 23:54 until 06:13
Highest at 05:29, 75° above S horizon
28 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 23:55 until 06:15
Highest at 05:30, 75° above S horizon
30 Oct 2021GeminiVisible from 23:55 until 06:17
Highest at 05:30, 75° above S horizon
01 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 23:55 until 06:19
Highest at 05:30, 75° above S horizon
03 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 23:54 until 06:21
Highest at 05:30, 75° above S horizon
05 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 23:54 until 06:23
Highest at 05:30, 75° above S horizon
07 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 22:53 until 05:25
Highest at 04:30, 75° above S horizon
09 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 22:52 until 05:27
Highest at 04:29, 76° above S horizon
11 Nov 2021GeminiVisible from 22:51 until 05:30
Highest at 04:28, 76° above S horizon
13 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 22:49 until 05:32
Highest at 04:27, 76° above S horizon
15 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 22:48 until 05:34
Highest at 04:25, 76° above S horizon
17 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 22:46 until 05:36
Highest at 04:23, 76° above S horizon
19 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 22:43 until 05:38
Highest at 04:21, 76° above S horizon
21 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 22:41 until 05:40
Highest at 04:18, 76° above S horizon
23 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 22:38 until 05:42
Highest at 04:15, 76° above S horizon
25 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 22:34 until 05:44
Highest at 04:12, 76° above S horizon
27 Nov 2021CancerVisible from 22:30 until 05:46
Highest at 04:08, 76° 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.

On 8 November it will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible around 22:52, when it reaches an altitude of 21° above your eastern horizon. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 04:29, 75° above your southern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight around 05:24, 71° 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 on 8 November 2021. 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 on 8 November 2021 will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko 07h45m50s +26°35' Gemini 8.3

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 08 November 2021
Sunrise
06:32
Sunset
16:40
Twilight ends
18:15
Twilight begins
04:58

4-day old moon
Waxing Crescent

20%

4 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:28 10:51 16:13
Venus 10:37 14:54 19:11
Moon 11:11 15:32 19:53
Mars 05:40 10:56 16:12
Jupiter 13:13 18:22 23:32
Saturn 12:28 17:20 22:12
All times shown in EST.

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 03 Jan 2021.

Image credit

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

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41.14°N
73.26°W
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