Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) will make its closest approach to the Sun, at a distance of 0.62 AU.
|12 Dec 2021||–||C/2021 A1 (Leonard) at perigee|
|03 Jan 2022||–||C/2021 A1 (Leonard) at perihelion|
|13 Dec 2021||Ophiuchus||Not observable|
|15 Dec 2021||Sagittarius||Not observable|
|17 Dec 2021||Sagittarius||Not observable|
|19 Dec 2021||Sagittarius||Not observable|
|21 Dec 2021||Microscopium||Not observable|
|23 Dec 2021||Microscopium||Not observable|
|25 Dec 2021||Microscopium||Not observable|
|27 Dec 2021||Microscopium||Not observable|
|29 Dec 2021||Piscis Austrinus||Not observable|
|31 Dec 2021||Piscis Austrinus||Not observable|
|02 Jan 2022||Piscis Austrinus||Not observable|
|04 Jan 2022||Piscis Austrinus||Not observable|
|06 Jan 2022||Piscis Austrinus||Not observable|
|08 Jan 2022||Piscis Austrinus||Not observable|
|10 Jan 2022||Piscis Austrinus||Not observable|
|12 Jan 2022||Piscis Austrinus||Not observable|
|14 Jan 2022||Piscis Austrinus||Not observable|
|16 Jan 2022||Piscis Austrinus||Not observable|
|18 Jan 2022||Piscis Austrinus||Not observable|
|20 Jan 2022||Piscis Austrinus||Not observable|
|22 Jan 2022||Piscis Austrinus||Not observable|
At the moment of perihelion it will not be readily observable since it will lie so far south that it will never rise more than 13° above the horizon.
The chart below shows the path of C/2021 A1 (Leonard) 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.
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 For most comets, we do not publish any magnitude estimates at all.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 6 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.
The comet's position at perihelion will be:
|Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard)||21h38m10s||35°47'S||5.5|
The coordinates are given in J2000.0.
|The sky on 03 January 2022|
1 day old
All times shown in EST.
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 20 Sep 2022.
© Andy Roberts 1997. Pictured comet is C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp.