44 days away
Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Comets feed
Comet 237P/LINEAR will make its closest approach to the Sun on 14 May, at a distance of 1.99 AU.
From Fairfield on the day of perihelion it will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 23:55 (EDT) and reaching an altitude of 35° above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 04:17.
The events that comprise the 2023 apparition of 237P/LINEAR are as follows:
|14 May 2023||Comet 237P/LINEAR passes perihelion|
The table below lists the times when 237P/LINEAR will be visible from Fairfield day-by-day through its apparition:
|23 Apr 2023||Sagittarius||Visible from 03:41 until 04:49|
Highest at 04:49, 29° above SE horizon
|25 Apr 2023||Sagittarius||Visible from 03:33 until 04:46|
Highest at 04:46, 29° above SE horizon
|27 Apr 2023||Sagittarius||Visible from 03:24 until 04:42|
Highest at 04:42, 30° above SE horizon
|29 Apr 2023||Sagittarius||Visible from 03:16 until 04:39|
Highest at 04:39, 30° above SE horizon
|01 May 2023||Sagittarius||Visible from 03:08 until 04:36|
Highest at 04:36, 31° above SE horizon
|03 May 2023||Sagittarius||Visible from 02:59 until 04:33|
Highest at 04:33, 32° above S horizon
|05 May 2023||Sagittarius||Visible from 02:51 until 04:29|
Highest at 04:29, 32° above S horizon
|07 May 2023||Sagittarius||Visible from 02:42 until 04:26|
Highest at 04:26, 33° above S horizon
|09 May 2023||Sagittarius||Visible from 02:33 until 04:23|
Highest at 04:23, 34° above S horizon
|11 May 2023||Sagittarius||Visible from 02:24 until 04:21|
Highest at 04:21, 34° above S horizon
|13 May 2023||Sagittarius||Visible from 02:16 until 04:18|
Highest at 04:18, 35° above S horizon
|15 May 2023||Aquila||Visible from 02:07 until 04:15|
Highest at 04:15, 36° above S horizon
|17 May 2023||Aquila||Visible from 01:58 until 04:13|
Highest at 04:13, 36° above S horizon
|19 May 2023||Aquila||Visible from 01:48 until 04:10|
Highest at 04:10, 37° above S horizon
|21 May 2023||Aquila||Visible from 01:39 until 04:08|
Highest at 04:08, 38° above S horizon
|23 May 2023||Aquila||Visible from 01:30 until 04:06|
Highest at 04:06, 38° above S horizon
|25 May 2023||Aquila||Visible from 01:21 until 04:04|
Highest at 04:04, 39° above S horizon
|27 May 2023||Aquila||Visible from 01:11 until 04:02|
Highest at 04:02, 40° above S horizon
|29 May 2023||Aquila||Visible from 01:02 until 04:00|
Highest at 04:00, 40° above S horizon
|31 May 2023||Aquila||Visible from 00:52 until 03:58|
Highest at 03:58, 41° above S horizon
|02 Jun 2023||Aquila||Visible from 00:42 until 03:57|
Highest at 03:57, 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.
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.
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 on 14 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:
The coordinates are given in J2000.0.
The sky on 14 May 2023
|The sky on 14 May 2023|
24 days old
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.
© Andy Roberts 1997. Pictured comet is C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp.