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

Comet 104P/Kowal passes perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Comets feed

Objects: 104P/Kowal
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Comet 104P/Kowal will make its closest approach to the Sun on 11 January, at a distance of 1.07 AU.

From Fairfield on the day of perihelion it will become visible around 17:54 (EDT), 45° above your southern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then sink towards the horizon, setting at 23:08.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

The events that comprise the 2021–2022 apparition of 104P/Kowal are as follows:

Date Event
11 Jan 2022Comet 104P/Kowal passes perihelion
18 Jan 2022Comet 104P/Kowal reaches peak brightness

The table below lists the times when 104P/Kowal will be visible from Fairfield day-by-day through its apparition:

Date Constellation Comet visibility
21 Dec 2021AquariusVisible from 17:38 until 20:48
Highest at 17:38, 41° above S horizon
23 Dec 2021AquariusVisible from 17:39 until 20:49
Highest at 17:39, 42° above S horizon
25 Dec 2021AquariusVisible from 17:41 until 20:49
Highest at 17:41, 42° above S horizon
27 Dec 2021AquariusVisible from 17:42 until 20:51
Highest at 17:42, 42° above S horizon
29 Dec 2021PiscesVisible from 17:43 until 20:52
Highest at 17:43, 43° above S horizon
31 Dec 2021PiscesVisible from 17:45 until 20:53
Highest at 17:45, 43° above S horizon
02 Jan 2022PiscesVisible from 17:46 until 20:55
Highest at 17:46, 44° above S horizon
04 Jan 2022PiscesVisible from 17:48 until 20:57
Highest at 17:48, 44° above S horizon
06 Jan 2022CetusVisible from 17:50 until 21:00
Highest at 17:50, 44° above S horizon
08 Jan 2022CetusVisible from 17:51 until 21:02
Highest at 17:51, 45° above S horizon
10 Jan 2022CetusVisible from 17:53 until 21:05
Highest at 17:53, 45° above S horizon
12 Jan 2022CetusVisible from 17:55 until 21:08
Highest at 17:55, 46° above S horizon
14 Jan 2022CetusVisible from 17:57 until 21:12
Highest at 17:57, 47° above S horizon
16 Jan 2022CetusVisible from 17:59 until 21:15
Highest at 17:59, 47° above S horizon
18 Jan 2022CetusVisible from 18:01 until 21:19
Highest at 18:01, 48° above S horizon
20 Jan 2022CetusVisible from 18:03 until 21:23
Highest at 18:03, 48° above S horizon
22 Jan 2022CetusVisible from 18:05 until 21:27
Highest at 18:05, 49° above S horizon
24 Jan 2022CetusVisible from 18:08 until 21:31
Highest at 18:08, 49° above S horizon
26 Jan 2022PiscesVisible from 18:10 until 21:36
Highest at 18:10, 50° above S horizon
28 Jan 2022CetusVisible from 18:12 until 21:40
Highest at 18:12, 51° above S horizon
30 Jan 2022CetusVisible from 18:14 until 21:45
Highest at 18:14, 51° above S horizon

A more detailed table of 104P/Kowal's position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of 104P/Kowal is available here.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of 104P/Kowal 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 9 on 11 January 2022. 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 104P/Kowal 00h46m20s 2°24'S Cetus 9.0

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 11 Jan 2022

The sky on 11 January 2022
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

9-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


9 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:16 13:15 18:13
Venus 06:37 11:38 16:39
Moon 12:20 19:24 02:39
Mars 05:12 09:46 14:21
Jupiter 09:24 14:46 20:08
Saturn 08:31 13:30 18:28
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 19 Feb 2023.

Image credit

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






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