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A Complete Guide to the Solar System and the Night Sky
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public Observing fromLocation: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
north SunriseRise: 7:40  
clear_day Transit: 11:47  
SunsetSet: 15:53 south
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Comets » 

Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy

Altitude: -14.9°   Azimuth: 281.2°   Direction: West

Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy is currently in the constellation of Virgo.

The current Right Ascension of Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy is 12h 41m 54s and the Declination is -04° 48’ 21” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt). The current estimated magnitude of Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy is 20.28 (JPL).

12h 41m 54s
-04° 48’ 21”

The observed values of Magnitude, Coma Diameter and Tail Length are derived from the most recent observation recorded at the Comet Observers Database. The value of Predicted Magnitude comes from the JPL Horizons ephemerides service and, in the case of comets, might be inaccurate given the highly dynamic and unpredictable behavior of these objects. When available, please refer to the Observed Magnitude value and consider the Predicted Magnitude as a directional indication. We acknowledge with thanks the comet observations from the COBS Comet Observation Database contributed by observers worldwide and used in this table to report recent comet observations.

Today's rise, transit and set times of Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 94.8°
Max altitude: 33.7°
Azimuth: 265.2°
  • 129P/Shoemaker-Levy is below the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.
  • Given its current magnitude, 129P/Shoemaker-Levy is visible only through long exposure photography.
  • Go to interactive sky chart

If you need to access this information frequently for your observations, you can create a simple customized Quick Access page, so that you can easily bookmark it in your browser favorites or add a shortcut to your mobile phones' home screen.

Available Resources

Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy Position and Finder Charts

Below we provide Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy finder charts showing where the object is right now in the sky with respect to the brightest stars. The first finder chart has a field of view of 50 degrees, while the second one has a field of view of 10 degrees. Click on each finder chart to access a full screen interactive Online Planetarium.

Finder chart of 129P/Shoemaker-Levy in Virgo on November,30 2023
Map showing Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy in Virgo on November, 30 2023
Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View fullscreen
Finder chart of 129P/Shoemaker-Levy
Map showing Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy in Virgo on November, 30 2023
Field of view: 10x6 degrees
View fullscreen

Higher precision deep sky finder chart, 60 arcmin wide, showing where Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy is right now. Click on the image to see a more detailed fullscreen tracker view.

RA: 12h 41m 54s
Dec: -04° 48’ 21”
Deep sky finder chart for Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy
Field of view: 60x40 arcmins
View fullscreen

Also check out Where is Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy?, a page that provides all the information needed to find Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy in the sky and additional links to sky charts.

Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy Distance from Earth

The distance of Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy from Earth is currently 671,595,105 kilometers, equivalent to 4.489336 Astronomical Units. Light takes 37 minutes and 20.2001 seconds to travel from Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy and arrive to us.

37 minutes and 20.2001 seconds

The following chart shows the distance of Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy from Earth as a function of time. In the chart the distance data is measured in Astronomical Units and sampled with an interval of 1 day.

Chart of the distance of Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy from Earth in Astronomical Units (au)

The value of the reported distance might be somewhat inaccurate around the times of closest approach for objects passing extremely close to Earth. The value of the distance of 129P/Shoemaker-Levy from Earth is also available as a real time updated value in the Live Position and Data Tracker.

Closest Approach of Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy to Earth

Between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2099, the closest approach of Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy to Earth happens on Fri Dec 24 2004 at a distance of 1.946997 Astronomical Units, or 291,266,666 kilometers:

Fri Dec 24 2004

NOTE: values for the closest approach are computed with a sampling interval of 1 day.

Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy Brightness and Light Curve

The following chart is the predicted light curve (visual magnitude as a function of time) of Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy, according to the most recent ephemerides data. Magnitude data is sampled with a 2 days interval and there might be inaccuracies for objects changing brightness very rapidly during the course of a few days. For comets there could be large discrepancies between the observed and predicted brightness because of their highly dynamic behaviour.

Chart of the magnitude of Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy as a function of time

Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy Orbital Elements

The following table lists the orbital elements of Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy at epoch 12 October 2012 00:00 UTC (JD: 2456213.5). Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Element Symbol Value
Orbit eccentricity e 0.09784661
Orbit inclination i 3.44203351°
Perihelion distance q 3.91136156 AU
585,131,363 km
Aphelion distance Q 4.75980592 AU
712,056,832 km
Semi-major axis a 4.33558374 AU
648,594,097 km
Orbital period period 9.0278 years
3,297.3860 days
Date of perihelion transit Tp 2014-Jan-29 19:37:17
2,456,687.3176 JD
Next perihelion transit 2023-Feb-09 04:53
2,459,984.7036 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 307.01165168729°
Longitude of the ascending node node 185.98729920145°
Mean anomaly M 308.26983561914°
Mean motion n 0.10917739°/day

Visualization of Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy Orbit

This 3d orbit diagram is a feature of our 3D Solar System Simulator and shows the orbit of Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy with respect of the Sun and the orbits of the major planets. The position of Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy and the planets along their orbits in this diagram accurately represents the current configuration of the objects in the Solar System. This is an experimental feature and it requires a WebGL enabled browser. Please provide us feedback!

Orbit Diagram of Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy
View Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy in the 3D Solar System Simulator

Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy 15 Days Ephemeris

The following table lists the ephemerides of Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy computed for the past and next 7 days, with a 24 hours interval. Click on each row of the table to locate Comet 129P/Shoemaker-Levy in our Online Planetarium at the chosen date.

Date Right AscensionR.A. DeclinationDec. MagnitudeMag Constellation
2023 Nov 23 12h 35m 08s -04° 08’ 09” 20.33 Virgo
2023 Nov 24 12h 36m 02s -04° 13’ 35” 20.32 Virgo
2023 Nov 25 12h 36m 56s -04° 18’ 56” 20.31 Virgo
2023 Nov 26 12h 37m 50s -04° 24’ 15” 20.31 Virgo
2023 Nov 27 12h 38m 43s -04° 29’ 32” 20.30 Virgo
2023 Nov 28 12h 39m 36s -04° 34’ 46” 20.30 Virgo
2023 Nov 29 12h 40m 28s -04° 39’ 57” 20.29 Virgo
2023 Nov 30 12h 41m 21s -04° 45’ 06” 20.29 Virgo
2023 Dec 01 12h 42m 12s -04° 50’ 11” 20.28 Virgo
2023 Dec 02 12h 43m 04s -04° 55’ 13” 20.28 Virgo
2023 Dec 03 12h 43m 54s -05° 00’ 11” 20.27 Virgo
2023 Dec 04 12h 44m 44s -05° 05’ 07” 20.26 Virgo
2023 Dec 05 12h 45m 34s -05° 10’ 00” 20.26 Virgo
2023 Dec 06 12h 46m 24s -05° 14’ 49” 20.25 Virgo