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

Comet C/2023 P1 (Nishimura) passes perigee

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Comet C/2023 P1 (Nishimura) will make its closest approach to the Earth on 12 September, at a distance of of 0.84 AU.

From Fairfield on the day of perigee it will not be readily observable since it will be very close to the Sun, at a separation of only 14° from it.

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The events that comprise the 2023 apparition of C/2023 P1 (Nishimura) are as follows:

Date Event
12 Sep 2023Comet C/2023 P1 (Nishimura) passes perigee
17 Sep 2023Comet C/2023 P1 (Nishimura) passes perihelion

The table below lists the times when C/2023 P1 (Nishimura) will be visible from Fairfield day-by-day through its apparition:

Date Constellation Comet visibility
22 Aug 2023GeminiNot observable
24 Aug 2023GeminiNot observable
26 Aug 2023CancerNot observable
28 Aug 2023CancerNot observable
30 Aug 2023CancerNot observable
01 Sep 2023CancerNot observable
03 Sep 2023CancerNot observable
05 Sep 2023LeoNot observable
07 Sep 2023LeoNot observable
09 Sep 2023LeoNot observable
11 Sep 2023LeoNot observable
13 Sep 2023LeoNot observable
15 Sep 2023VirgoNot observable
17 Sep 2023VirgoNot observable
19 Sep 2023VirgoNot observable
21 Sep 2023VirgoNot observable
23 Sep 2023VirgoNot observable
25 Sep 2023VirgoNot observable
27 Sep 2023VirgoNot observable
29 Sep 2023VirgoNot observable
01 Oct 2023VirgoNot observable

A more detailed table of C/2023 P1 (Nishimura)'s position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of C/2023 P1 (Nishimura) is available here.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of C/2023 P1 (Nishimura) 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 3 on 12 September 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.

The comet's position at perigee will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet C/2023 P1 (Nishimura) 11h13m00s 18°53'N Leo 3.0

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 12 Sep 2023

The sky on 12 September 2023
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

27-day old moon
Waning Crescent


27 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:38 12:04 18:30
Venus 03:40 10:23 17:07
Moon 03:47 11:13 18:28
Mars 08:14 14:04 19:55
Jupiter 21:23 04:21 11:18
Saturn 18:26 23:45 05:04
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 19 Sep 2023.

Image credit

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





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