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

9P/Tempel at perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Comets feed

Objects: 9P/Tempel
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The sky at

Comet 9P/Tempel will make its closest approach to the Sun, at a distance of 1.54 AU.

From Fairfield the 2022 apparition of 9P/Tempel will progress as follows:

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04 Mar 2022 – 9P/Tempel at perihelion
11 Feb 2022SagittariusNot observable
13 Feb 2022SagittariusNot observable
15 Feb 2022SagittariusNot observable
17 Feb 2022SagittariusNot observable
19 Feb 2022SagittariusNot observable
21 Feb 2022SagittariusNot observable
23 Feb 2022SagittariusNot observable
25 Feb 2022SagittariusNot observable
27 Feb 2022SagittariusNot observable
01 Mar 2022SagittariusNot observable
03 Mar 2022SagittariusNot observable
05 Mar 2022SagittariusNot observable
07 Mar 2022SagittariusNot observable
09 Mar 2022SagittariusNot observable
11 Mar 2022SagittariusNot observable
13 Mar 2022SagittariusNot observable
15 Mar 2022SagittariusNot observable
17 Mar 2022SagittariusNot observable
19 Mar 2022SagittariusNot observable
21 Mar 2022SagittariusNot observable
23 Mar 2022SagittariusNot observable

A more detailed table of 9P/Tempel's position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of 9P/Tempel is available here.

At the moment of perihelion it will not be observable – it will reach its highest point in the sky during daytime and will be no higher than 16° above the horizon at dawn.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of 9P/Tempel 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 11 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.

You will probably require a telescope to see this comet. It is unlikely to be visible through bird-watching binoculars, and even less likely to be visible to the unaided eye.

The comet's position at perihelion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet 9P/Tempel 18h52m40s 22°44'S Sagittarius 11.2

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 04 March 2022
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

2-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


2 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:36 10:41 15:47
Venus 04:00 09:02 14:04
Moon 07:35 13:43 20:02
Mars 04:23 09:07 13:50
Jupiter 06:29 12:07 17:45
Saturn 05:24 10:30 15:35
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 13 Mar 2022.

Image credit

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






Color scheme