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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: 7:50  
clear_day Transit: 11:50  
SunsetSet: 15:49 south
sunny DaytimeWhat's Visible Now?
Comets » 

Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma

Altitude: 24.5°   Azimuth: 155.2°   Direction: South-South-East

Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma is currently in the constellation of Libra.

The current Right Ascension of Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma is 15h 31m 08s and the Declination is -10° 56’ 44” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt). The current estimated magnitude of Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma is 27.54 (JPL).

15h 31m 08s
-10° 56’ 44”

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 38P/Stephan-Oterma from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 100.9°
Max altitude: 27.6°
Azimuth: 259.0°
  • 38P/Stephan-Oterma is above the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.
  • Right now it is placed in the South-South-East direction at an altitude of 25° above the horizon.
  • Given its current magnitude, 38P/Stephan-Oterma 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 38P/Stephan-Oterma Position and Finder Charts

Below we provide Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma 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 38P/Stephan-Oterma in Libra on December,08 2023
Map showing Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma in Libra on December, 08 2023
Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View fullscreen
Finder chart of 38P/Stephan-Oterma
Map showing Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma in Libra on December, 08 2023
Field of view: 10x6 degrees
View fullscreen

Higher precision deep sky finder chart, 60 arcmin wide, showing where Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma is right now. Click on the image to see a more detailed fullscreen tracker view.

RA: 15h 31m 08s
Dec: -10° 56’ 44”
Deep sky finder chart for Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma
Field of view: 60x40 arcmins
View fullscreen

Also check out Where is Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma?, a page that provides all the information needed to find Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma in the sky and additional links to sky charts.

Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma Distance from Earth

The distance of Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma from Earth is currently 1,998,923,245 kilometers, equivalent to 13.361977 Astronomical Units. Light takes 1 hours, 51 minutes and 7.6902 seconds to travel from Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma and arrive to us.

1 hours, 51 minutes and 7.6902 seconds

The following chart shows the distance of Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma 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 38P/Stephan-Oterma 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 38P/Stephan-Oterma from Earth is also available as a real time updated value in the Live Position and Data Tracker.

Closest Approach of Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma to Earth

Between 1 January 2013 and 30 December 2100, the closest approach of Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma to Earth happens on Mon Dec 17 2018 at a distance of 0.765727 Astronomical Units, or 114,551,111 kilometers:

Mon Dec 17 2018

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

Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma Brightness and Light Curve

The following chart is the predicted light curve (visual magnitude as a function of time) of Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma, 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 38P/Stephan-Oterma as a function of time

Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma Orbital Elements

The following table lists the orbital elements of Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma at epoch 23 May 2018 00:00 UTC (JD: 2458262.5). Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Element Symbol Value
Orbit eccentricity e 0.85928629
Orbit inclination i 18.35294652°
Perihelion distance q 1.58850505 AU
237,636,973 km
Aphelion distance Q 20.98932339 AU
3,139,958,093 km
Semi-major axis a 11.28891422 AU
1,688,797,533 km
Orbital period period 37.9303 years
13,854.0479 days
Date of perihelion transit Tp 2018-Nov-10 23:41:46
2,458,433.4873 JD
Next perihelion transit 2056-Oct-16 00:50
2,472,287.5353 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 359.58867655349°
Longitude of the ascending node node 78.000364192787°
Mean anomaly M 355.55686223202°
Mean motion n 0.02598519°/day

Visualization of Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma Orbit

This 3d orbit diagram is a feature of our 3D Solar System Simulator and shows the orbit of Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma with respect of the Sun and the orbits of the major planets. The position of Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma 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 38P/Stephan-Oterma
View Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma in the 3D Solar System Simulator

Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma 15 Days Ephemeris

The following table lists the ephemerides of Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma computed for the past and next 7 days, with a 24 hours interval. Click on each row of the table to locate Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma in our Online Planetarium at the chosen date.

Date Right AscensionR.A. DeclinationDec. MagnitudeMag Constellation
2023 Dec 01 15h 28m 49s -10° 48’ 24” 27.53 Libra
2023 Dec 02 15h 29m 08s -10° 49’ 36” 27.53 Libra
2023 Dec 03 15h 29m 26s -10° 50’ 45” 27.53 Libra
2023 Dec 04 15h 29m 45s -10° 51’ 55” 27.54 Libra
2023 Dec 05 15h 30m 05s -10° 53’ 03” 27.54 Libra
2023 Dec 06 15h 30m 24s -10° 54’ 10” 27.54 Libra
2023 Dec 07 15h 30m 42s -10° 55’ 15” 27.54 Libra
2023 Dec 08 15h 31m 01s -10° 56’ 21” 27.54 Libra
2023 Dec 09 15h 31m 19s -10° 57’ 24” 27.54 Libra
2023 Dec 10 15h 31m 38s -10° 58’ 27” 27.54 Libra
2023 Dec 11 15h 31m 57s -10° 59’ 29” 27.54 Libra
2023 Dec 12 15h 32m 14s -11° 00’ 29” 27.54 Libra
2023 Dec 13 15h 32m 34s -11° 01’ 28” 27.54 Libra
2023 Dec 14 15h 32m 52s -11° 02’ 26” 27.54 Libra