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

Comet 81P/Wild passes perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Comets feed

Objects: 81P/Wild
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Comet 81P/Wild will make its closest approach to the Sun on 17 May, at a distance of 1.60 AU.

From Fairfield on the day of perihelion it will become visible around 21:24 (EDT), 47° above your western horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then sink towards the horizon, setting at 01:44.

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 2029 apparition of 81P/Wild are as follows:

Date Event
17 May 2029Comet 81P/Wild passes perihelion

The table below lists the times when 81P/Wild will be visible from Fairfield day-by-day through its apparition:

Date Constellation Comet visibility
26 Apr 2029CancerVisible from 20:56 until 00:23
Highest at 20:56, 60° above SW horizon
28 Apr 2029CancerVisible from 20:58 until 00:19
Highest at 20:58, 59° above SW horizon
30 Apr 2029CancerVisible from 21:01 until 00:15
Highest at 21:01, 57° above SW horizon
02 May 2029CancerVisible from 21:04 until 00:11
Highest at 21:04, 56° above SW horizon
04 May 2029CancerVisible from 21:06 until 00:07
Highest at 21:06, 55° above SW horizon
06 May 2029CancerVisible from 21:09 until 00:03
Highest at 21:09, 54° above SW horizon
08 May 2029CancerVisible from 21:12 until 23:59
Highest at 21:12, 53° above SW horizon
10 May 2029CancerVisible from 21:14 until 23:55
Highest at 21:14, 52° above SW horizon
12 May 2029CancerVisible from 21:17 until 23:51
Highest at 21:17, 50° above SW horizon
14 May 2029LeoVisible from 21:20 until 23:47
Highest at 21:20, 49° above SW horizon
16 May 2029LeoVisible from 21:22 until 23:43
Highest at 21:22, 48° above W horizon
18 May 2029LeoVisible from 21:25 until 23:39
Highest at 21:25, 47° above W horizon
20 May 2029LeoVisible from 21:27 until 23:35
Highest at 21:27, 46° above W horizon
22 May 2029LeoVisible from 21:30 until 23:31
Highest at 21:30, 44° above W horizon
24 May 2029LeoVisible from 21:32 until 23:27
Highest at 21:32, 43° above W horizon
26 May 2029LeoVisible from 21:35 until 23:23
Highest at 21:35, 42° above W horizon
28 May 2029LeoVisible from 21:37 until 23:19
Highest at 21:37, 41° above W horizon
30 May 2029LeoVisible from 21:39 until 23:15
Highest at 21:39, 40° above W horizon
01 Jun 2029LeoVisible from 21:41 until 23:11
Highest at 21:41, 39° above W horizon
03 Jun 2029LeoVisible from 21:43 until 23:07
Highest at 21:43, 37° above W horizon
05 Jun 2029LeoVisible from 21:45 until 23:02
Highest at 21:45, 36° above W horizon

A more detailed table of 81P/Wild's position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of 81P/Wild is available here.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of 81P/Wild 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.

No estimate for the brightness of comet 81P/Wild is currently available.

The comet's position at perihelion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet 81P/Wild 09h27m40s 17°34'N Leo 9.8

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 17 May 2029

The sky on 17 May 2029
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

4-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


4 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:19 12:20 19:21
Venus 06:18 13:46 21:14
Moon 08:36 16:17 23:50
Mars 14:40 20:53 03:07
Jupiter 16:35 22:18 04:01
Saturn 05:10 12:06 19:01
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.

Image credit

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






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