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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
SunriseRise: 5:57  
clear_day Transit: 12:57  
SunsetSet: 19:59
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Comets » 

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks

Altitude: -14.5°   Azimuth: 48.2°   Direction: North-East

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is a Halley-type periodic comet that was first discovered by Jean-Louis Pons on July 12, 1812 and then independently rediscovered by William Robert Brooks in 1883. It has an orbital period of about 71.3 years. During its closest approach to the Sun, or perihelion, the comet comes within about 0.78 astronomical units (AU) of the Sun, while at its furthest point, or aphelion, it is located at a distance of about 17.2 AU. Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is also known for being the probable parent body causing the κ-Draconids meteor shower. Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks will make its return in 2024 and it is expected to reach its maximum brightness (potentially visible to the naked eye) during the month of April. With its closest approach occurring just a few days before a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, it presents a unique opportunity for skywatchers to potentially view the comet during the eclipse. However, since the comet's brightness can be unpredictable, there is no guarantee it will be visible, and viewers may need to use binoculars or telescopes to see it. Nevertheless, with the combination of a total solar eclipse and a potentially bright comet passing by, this astronomical event is not to be missed.

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is currently in the constellation of Aries, at a distance of 240,417,806 kilometers from Earth.

Finder chart of 12P/Pons-Brooks in Aries on April,18 2024
Map showing Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks in Aries on April, 18 2024. Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View interactive star map
The current Right Ascension of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is 03h 17m 36s and the Declination is +11° 53’ 38” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt). The current estimated magnitude of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is 4.44 (JPL) while the latest observed magnitude is 4.5 (COBS).

03h 17m 36s
+11° 53’ 38”

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 12P/Pons-Brooks from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 78.2°
Max altitude: 50.2°
Azimuth: 281.4°
  • 12P/Pons-Brooks is below the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.
  • Given its current magnitude, 12P/Pons-Brooks is barely visible to the naked eye, easily visible with the help of a small binocular.
  • 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.

Additional Resources

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks Position and Finder Charts

Finder chart of 12P/Pons-Brooks
Map showing Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks in Aries on April, 18 2024
Field of view: 10x6 degrees
View fullscreen

Higher precision deep sky finder chart, 60 arcmin wide, showing where Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is right now. Click on the image to see a more detailed fullscreen tracker view.

RA: 03h 17m 36s
Dec: +11° 53’ 38”
Deep sky finder chart for Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks
Field of view: 60x40 arcmins
View fullscreen

Also check out Where is Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks?, a page that provides all the information needed to find Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks in the sky and additional links to sky charts.

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks Distance from Earth

The distance of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks from Earth is currently 240,417,806 kilometers, equivalent to 1.607094 Astronomical Units. Light takes 13 minutes and 21.9475 seconds to travel from Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks and arrive to us.

13 minutes and 21.9475 seconds

The following chart shows the distance of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks 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 12P/Pons-Brooks 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 12P/Pons-Brooks from Earth is also available as a real time updated value in the Live Position and Data Tracker.

Closest Approach of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks to Earth

Between 1 January 2013 and 30 December 2100, the closest approach of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks to Earth happens on Wed Aug 31 2095 at a distance of 1.498794 Astronomical Units, or 224,216,431 kilometers:

Wed Aug 31 2095

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

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks Brightness and Light Curve

The following chart is the predicted light curve (visual magnitude as a function of time) of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, 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 12P/Pons-Brooks as a function of time

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks Orbital Elements

The following table lists the orbital elements of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks at epoch 20 February 2018 00:00 UTC (JD: 2458170.5). Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Element Symbol Value
Orbit eccentricity e 0.95427749
Orbit inclination i 74.08709807°
Perihelion distance q 0.77651883 AU
116,165,563 km
Aphelion distance Q 33.19007210 AU
4,965,164,125 km
Semi-major axis a 16.98329546 AU
2,540,664,844 km
Orbital period period 69.9908 years
25,564.1510 days
Date of perihelion transit Tp 2024-Apr-23 01:40:24
2,460,423.5697 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 199.15075820536°
Longitude of the ascending node node 255.71768964749°
Mean anomaly M 328.27177624568°
Mean motion n 0.01408222°/day

Visualization of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks Orbit

This 3d orbit diagram is a feature of our 3D Solar System Simulator and shows the orbit of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks with respect of the Sun and the orbits of the major planets. The position of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks 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 12P/Pons-Brooks
View Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks in the 3D Solar System Simulator

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks 15 Days Ephemeris

The following table lists the ephemerides of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks computed for the past and next 7 days, with a 24 hours interval. Click on each row of the table to locate Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks in our Online Planetarium at the chosen date.

Date Right AscensionR.A. DeclinationDec. MagnitudeMag Constellation
2024 Apr 11 02h 50m 30s +16° 47’ 40” 4.61 Aries
2024 Apr 12 02h 54m 24s +16° 07’ 45” 4.58 Aries
2024 Apr 13 02h 58m 14s +15° 27’ 29” 4.55 Aries
2024 Apr 14 03h 02m 03s +14° 46’ 54” 4.52 Aries
2024 Apr 15 03h 05m 48s +14° 06’ 01” 4.49 Aries
2024 Apr 16 03h 09m 33s +13° 24’ 51” 4.47 Aries
2024 Apr 17 03h 13m 14s +12° 43’ 27” 4.45 Aries
2024 Apr 18 03h 16m 54s +12° 01’ 50” 4.44 Aries
2024 Apr 19 03h 20m 30s +11° 19’ 59” 4.43 Aries
2024 Apr 20 03h 24m 06s +10° 37’ 59” 4.42 Taurus
2024 Apr 21 03h 27m 38s +09° 55’ 47” 4.42 Taurus
2024 Apr 22 03h 31m 09s +09° 13’ 27” 4.42 Taurus
2024 Apr 23 03h 34m 40s +08° 31’ 00” 4.42 Taurus
2024 Apr 24 03h 38m 08s +07° 48’ 27” 4.43 Taurus