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

Comet 144P/Kushida passes perigee

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Comet 144P/Kushida will make its closest approach to the Earth on 12 December, at a distance of of 0.57 AU.

From San Diego on the day of perigee it will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 17:45 (PDT), 40° above your eastern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 21:10, 72° above your southern horizon. It will continue to be observable until around 02:04, when it sinks below 21° above your western 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 2023–2024 apparition of 144P/Kushida are as follows:

Date Event
12 Dec 2023Comet 144P/Kushida passes perigee
08 Jan 2024Comet 144P/Kushida reaches peak brightness
25 Jan 2024Comet 144P/Kushida passes perihelion

The table below lists the times when 144P/Kushida will be visible from San Diego day-by-day through its apparition:

Date Constellation Comet visibility
21 Nov 2023AriesVisible from 17:45 until 03:35
Highest at 22:35, 75° above S horizon
23 Nov 2023AriesVisible from 17:45 until 03:26
Highest at 22:26, 75° above S horizon
25 Nov 2023AriesVisible from 17:44 until 03:17
Highest at 22:18, 75° above S horizon
27 Nov 2023AriesVisible from 17:44 until 03:08
Highest at 22:09, 75° above S horizon
29 Nov 2023AriesVisible from 17:44 until 03:00
Highest at 22:01, 74° above S horizon
01 Dec 2023AriesVisible from 17:44 until 02:52
Highest at 21:53, 74° above S horizon
03 Dec 2023AriesVisible from 17:44 until 02:44
Highest at 21:45, 74° above S horizon
05 Dec 2023AriesVisible from 17:44 until 02:36
Highest at 21:37, 74° above S horizon
07 Dec 2023AriesVisible from 17:44 until 02:28
Highest at 21:29, 73° above S horizon
09 Dec 2023AriesVisible from 17:45 until 02:20
Highest at 21:22, 73° above S horizon
11 Dec 2023AriesVisible from 17:45 until 02:13
Highest at 21:14, 73° above S horizon
13 Dec 2023AriesVisible from 17:46 until 02:05
Highest at 21:07, 73° above S horizon
15 Dec 2023AriesVisible from 17:46 until 01:58
Highest at 21:00, 72° above S horizon
17 Dec 2023AriesVisible from 17:47 until 01:51
Highest at 20:53, 72° above S horizon
19 Dec 2023AriesVisible from 17:48 until 01:45
Highest at 20:47, 72° above S horizon
21 Dec 2023AriesVisible from 17:49 until 01:38
Highest at 20:41, 72° above S horizon
23 Dec 2023AriesVisible from 17:50 until 01:32
Highest at 20:34, 72° above S horizon
25 Dec 2023AriesVisible from 17:51 until 01:26
Highest at 20:29, 72° above S horizon
27 Dec 2023AriesVisible from 17:52 until 01:21
Highest at 20:23, 72° above S horizon
29 Dec 2023AriesVisible from 17:53 until 01:15
Highest at 20:17, 72° above S horizon
31 Dec 2023AriesVisible from 17:55 until 01:10
Highest at 20:12, 72° above S horizon

A more detailed table of 144P/Kushida's position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of 144P/Kushida is available here.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of 144P/Kushida 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 8 on 12 December 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.

This comet is not expected to be visible to the naked eye, but might be visible through bird-watching binoculars.

The comet's position at perigee will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet 144P/Kushida 02h48m50s 15°29'N Aries 7.5

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 12 Dec 2023

The sky on 12 December 2023
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

29-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


29 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:02 12:59 17:55
Venus 03:23 08:54 14:24
Moon 06:32 11:29 16:23
Mars 06:08 11:09 16:10
Jupiter 14:03 20:37 03:12
Saturn 11:09 16:39 22:09
All times shown in PST.


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.



San Diego



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