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

Comet C/2021 E3 (ZTF) passes perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

Comet C/2021 E3 (ZTF) will make its closest approach to the Sun on 11 June, at a distance of 1.78 AU.

From Fairfield on the day of perihelion it will not be observable because it will lie so far south that it never rises above the horizon.

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 2022 apparition of C/2021 E3 (ZTF) are as follows:

Date Event
11 Jun 2022Comet C/2021 E3 (ZTF) passes perihelion

The table below lists the times when C/2021 E3 (ZTF) will be visible from Fairfield day-by-day through its apparition:

Date Constellation Comet visibility
21 May 2022IndusNot observable
23 May 2022IndusNot observable
25 May 2022IndusNot observable
27 May 2022OctansNot observable
29 May 2022OctansNot observable
31 May 2022HydrusNot observable
02 Jun 2022HydrusNot observable
04 Jun 2022HydrusNot observable
06 Jun 2022MensaNot observable
08 Jun 2022MensaNot observable
10 Jun 2022MensaNot observable
12 Jun 2022MensaNot observable
14 Jun 2022VolansNot observable
16 Jun 2022VolansNot observable
18 Jun 2022VolansNot observable
20 Jun 2022VolansNot observable
22 Jun 2022VolansNot observable
24 Jun 2022VolansNot observable
26 Jun 2022CarinaNot observable
28 Jun 2022CarinaNot observable
30 Jun 2022CarinaNot observable

A more detailed table of C/2021 E3 (ZTF)'s position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of C/2021 E3 (ZTF) is available here.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of C/2021 E3 (ZTF) 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 10 on 11 June 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.

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 C/2021 E3 (ZTF) 06h27m20s 78°37'S Mensa 10.0

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 11 Jun 2022

The sky on 11 June 2022
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

12-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


12 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 04:20 11:21 18:22
Venus 03:33 10:30 17:27
Moon 17:15 22:31 03:38
Mars 02:08 08:23 14:38
Jupiter 01:48 07:54 14:00
Saturn 00:12 05:24 10:36
All times shown in EDT.


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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