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

Comet 62P/Tsuchinshan reaches peak brightness

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Comet 62P/Tsuchinshan is forecast to reach the brightest point in its 2024 apparition on 1 January. At that time, it will lie at a distance of 1.27 AU from the Sun, and at a distance of 0.52 AU from the Earth.

From San Diego on 1 January it will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible around 23:52, when it reaches an altitude of 21° above your eastern horizon. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 04:40, 70° above your southern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight around 05:45, 65° above your south-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 62P/Tsuchinshan are as follows:

Date Event
25 Dec 2023Comet 62P/Tsuchinshan passes perihelion
01 Jan 2024Comet 62P/Tsuchinshan reaches peak brightness
30 Jan 2024Comet 62P/Tsuchinshan passes perigee

The table below lists the times when 62P/Tsuchinshan will be visible from San Diego day-by-day through its apparition:

Date Constellation Comet visibility
11 Dec 2023LeoVisible from 23:57 until 05:35
Highest at 04:54, 74° above S horizon
13 Dec 2023LeoVisible from 23:58 until 05:36
Highest at 04:53, 73° above S horizon
15 Dec 2023LeoVisible from 23:58 until 05:37
Highest at 04:53, 73° above S horizon
17 Dec 2023LeoVisible from 23:58 until 05:38
Highest at 04:52, 73° above S horizon
19 Dec 2023LeoVisible from 23:58 until 05:40
Highest at 04:51, 72° above S horizon
21 Dec 2023LeoVisible from 23:58 until 05:41
Highest at 04:50, 72° above S horizon
23 Dec 2023LeoVisible from 23:57 until 05:42
Highest at 04:49, 72° above S horizon
25 Dec 2023LeoVisible from 23:57 until 05:43
Highest at 04:47, 71° above S horizon
27 Dec 2023LeoVisible from 23:56 until 05:43
Highest at 04:46, 71° above S horizon
29 Dec 2023LeoVisible from 23:55 until 05:44
Highest at 04:44, 71° above S horizon
31 Dec 2023LeoVisible from 23:54 until 05:45
Highest at 04:42, 70° above S horizon
02 Jan 2024LeoVisible from 23:53 until 05:45
Highest at 04:40, 70° above S horizon
04 Jan 2024LeoVisible from 23:51 until 05:46
Highest at 04:38, 70° above S horizon
06 Jan 2024LeoVisible from 23:49 until 05:46
Highest at 04:35, 69° above S horizon
08 Jan 2024LeoVisible from 23:47 until 05:46
Highest at 04:32, 69° above S horizon
10 Jan 2024VirgoVisible from 23:45 until 05:46
Highest at 04:29, 69° above S horizon
12 Jan 2024VirgoVisible from 23:42 until 05:46
Highest at 04:26, 69° above S horizon
14 Jan 2024VirgoVisible from 23:39 until 05:46
Highest at 04:23, 68° above S horizon
16 Jan 2024VirgoVisible from 23:36 until 05:46
Highest at 04:19, 68° above S horizon
18 Jan 2024VirgoVisible from 23:32 until 05:46
Highest at 04:15, 68° above S horizon
20 Jan 2024VirgoVisible from 23:28 until 05:45
Highest at 04:10, 68° above S horizon

A more detailed table of 62P/Tsuchinshan's position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of 62P/Tsuchinshan is available here.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of 62P/Tsuchinshan 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 1 January 2024. 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 on 1 January 2024 will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet 62P/Tsuchinshan 11h34m30s 12°55'N Leo 7.9

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 01 Jan 2024

The sky on 01 January 2024
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

20-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


20 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:21 10:30 15:38
Venus 03:59 09:11 14:23
Moon 21:20 04:02 10:36
Mars 05:57 10:54 15:51
Jupiter 12:42 19:16 01:51
Saturn 09:54 15:26 20:57
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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