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

Comet C/2020 V2 (ZTF) passes perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

Comet C/2020 V2 (ZTF) will make its closest approach to the Sun on 8 May, at a distance of 2.23 AU.

From Fairfield on the day of perihelion it will not be readily observable since it will be very close to the Sun, at a separation of only 9° from it.

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 2023 apparition of C/2020 V2 (ZTF) are as follows:

Date Event
08 May 2023Comet C/2020 V2 (ZTF) passes perihelion

The table below lists the times when C/2020 V2 (ZTF) will be visible from Fairfield day-by-day through its apparition:

Date Constellation Comet visibility
17 Apr 2023TriangulumNot observable
19 Apr 2023TriangulumNot observable
21 Apr 2023TriangulumNot observable
23 Apr 2023AriesNot observable
25 Apr 2023AriesNot observable
27 Apr 2023AriesNot observable
29 Apr 2023AriesNot observable
01 May 2023AriesNot observable
03 May 2023AriesNot observable
05 May 2023AriesNot observable
07 May 2023AriesNot observable
09 May 2023AriesNot observable
11 May 2023AriesNot observable
13 May 2023AriesNot observable
15 May 2023AriesNot observable
17 May 2023AriesNot observable
19 May 2023AriesNot observable
21 May 2023AriesNot observable
23 May 2023AriesNot observable
25 May 2023AriesNot observable
27 May 2023AriesNot observable

A more detailed table of C/2020 V2 (ZTF)'s position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of C/2020 V2 (ZTF) is available here.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of C/2020 V2 (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 8 May 2023. 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/2020 V2 (ZTF) 02h39m30s 24°59'N Aries 10.4

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 8 May 2023

The sky on 8 May 2023
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

18-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


18 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:19 12:08 18:57
Venus 08:06 15:51 23:36
Moon 22:36 03:04 07:28
Mars 09:56 17:27 00:58
Jupiter 04:55 11:33 18:10
Saturn 02:55 08:20 13:45
All times shown in EDT.


Never attempt to point a pair of binoculars or a telescope at an object close to the Sun. Doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness.


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 27 Apr 2024.

Image credit

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





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