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

237P/LINEAR at perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Comets feed

Objects: 237P/LINEAR
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Comet 237P/LINEAR will make its closest approach to the Sun, at a distance of 1.99 AU.

From Fairfield the 2023 apparition of 237P/LINEAR will progress as follows:

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.
12 May 2023 – 237P/LINEAR at perihelion
21 Apr 2023SagittariusVisible from 03:54 until 04:52
Highest at 04:52, 28° above SE horizon
23 Apr 2023SagittariusVisible from 03:44 until 04:51
Highest at 04:51, 29° above SE horizon
25 Apr 2023SagittariusVisible from 03:39 until 04:46
Highest at 04:46, 29° above SE horizon
27 Apr 2023SagittariusVisible from 03:29 until 04:46
Highest at 04:46, 30° above SE horizon
29 Apr 2023SagittariusVisible from 03:19 until 04:41
Highest at 04:41, 30° above SE horizon
01 May 2023SagittariusVisible from 03:13 until 04:36
Highest at 04:36, 31° above SE horizon
03 May 2023SagittariusVisible from 03:02 until 04:35
Highest at 04:35, 31° above SE horizon
05 May 2023SagittariusVisible from 02:56 until 04:31
Highest at 04:31, 32° above SE horizon
07 May 2023SagittariusVisible from 02:45 until 04:26
Highest at 04:26, 33° above SE horizon
09 May 2023SagittariusVisible from 02:39 until 04:26
Highest at 04:26, 33° above S horizon
11 May 2023SagittariusVisible from 02:28 until 04:21
Highest at 04:21, 34° above S horizon
13 May 2023SagittariusVisible from 02:20 until 04:21
Highest at 04:21, 35° above S horizon
15 May 2023AquilaVisible from 02:13 until 04:17
Highest at 04:17, 36° above S horizon
17 May 2023AquilaVisible from 02:01 until 04:13
Highest at 04:13, 36° above S horizon
19 May 2023AquilaVisible from 01:54 until 04:13
Highest at 04:13, 37° above S horizon
21 May 2023AquilaVisible from 01:46 until 04:09
Highest at 04:09, 37° above S horizon
23 May 2023AquilaVisible from 01:33 until 04:09
Highest at 04:09, 38° above S horizon
25 May 2023AquilaVisible from 01:25 until 04:05
Highest at 04:05, 39° above S horizon
27 May 2023AquilaVisible from 01:16 until 04:05
Highest at 04:05, 40° above S horizon
29 May 2023AquilaVisible from 01:07 until 04:01
Highest at 04:01, 40° above S horizon
31 May 2023AquilaVisible from 00:58 until 04:01
Highest at 04:01, 41° above S horizon

A more detailed table of 237P/LINEAR's position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of 237P/LINEAR is available here.

At the moment of perihelion it will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 00:07 (EDT) and reaching an altitude of 34° above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 04:21.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of 237P/LINEAR 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 237P/LINEAR 19h52m00s 12°22'S Sagittarius 10.8

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 12 May 2023
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

22-day old moon
Waning Crescent


22 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:07 11:51 18:35
Venus 08:11 15:56 23:41
Moon 02:14 07:06 12:08
Mars 09:52 17:21 00:50
Jupiter 04:44 11:22 18:01
Saturn 02:42 08:07 13:32
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 27 Sep 2021.

Image credit

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






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