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Comet 46P/Wirtanen

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Comet 46P/Wirtanen Position

Comet 46P/Wirtanen is currently in the constellation of Virgo. The current Right Ascension is 13h 23m 51s and the Declination is -00° 51’ 02”.

13h 23m 51s
-00° 51’ 02”

Simplified sky chart showing where Comet 46P/Wirtanen is right now in the sky with respect to the brightest stars and constellations (see fuillscreen Online Planetarium)

Map showing Comet 46P/Wirtanen in Virgo on September, 15 2019
Field of view: 60x30 degrees
View fullscreen
 = visible to the naked eye
 = binocular, brighter than 10th magnitude
= current altitude ≥ 30°   = current altitude < 30°   = below the horizon
Location: Greenwich, United Kingdom [change]

Hihgher precision deep sky finder chart showing where Comet 46P/Wirtanen is right now (view fullscreen)

RA: 13h 23m 51s
Dec: -00° 51’ 02”
Deep sky finder chart for Comet 46P/Wirtanen
Field of view: 60x40 arcmins
View fullscreen

Also check out Where is Comet 46P/Wirtanen?, a page that provides all the information needed to find Comet 46P/Wirtanen in the sky and additional links to sky charts.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen Distance

The distance of Comet 46P/Wirtanen from Earth is currently 577,891,449 kilometers, equivalent to 3.862966 Astronomical Units. Light takes 32 minutes and 7.6384 seconds to travel from Comet 46P/Wirtanen and arrive to us.

32 minutes and 7.6384 seconds

The following chart shows the distance of Comet 46P/Wirtanen 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.

Distance of Comet 46P/Wirtanen from Earth between January 2013 and December 2100

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 46P/Wirtanen from Earth is also available as a real time updated value in the Live Position and Data Tracker.

Closest approach of Comet 46P/Wirtanen to Earth

Between January 2013 and December 2100 the closest approach of Comet 46P/Wirtanen to Earth happens on Mon Dec 17 2018 at a distance of 0.07750892 Astronomical Units, or 11,595,169 kilometers:

Mon Dec 17 2018

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

Comet 46P/Wirtanen brightness

The current visual magnitude of Comet 46P/Wirtanen is 25.62.


The observed magnitude and coma diameter values are derived from the Comet Observers Database by averaging the values reported in recent observations (more recent than 4 days), when available. The Estimated Magnitude comes from the JPL Horizons ephemerides service and might be inaccurate given the highly dynamic and unpredictable behvior of comets. When available, please refer to the Observed Magnitude value and consider the Estimated 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.

The following chart is the predicted light curve (visual magnitude as a function of time) of Comet 46P/Wirtanen, 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.

Predicted magnitude of Comet 46P/Wirtanen between January 2013 and December 2100

Comet 46P/Wirtanen rise and set times

Location: Greenwich, United Kingdom [change]
Latitude: 51° 28’ 47” N
Longitude: 0° 00’ 00” E
Timezone: Europe/London

Today's Comet 46P/Wirtanen rise, transit and set times from Greenwich, United Kingdom [change] are the following (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 90.8°
Max altitude: 37.7°
Azimuth: 269.1°
Comet 46P/Wirtanen is above the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom

The rise and set times are defined as the time at which the upper limb of Comet 46P/Wirtanen touches the horizon, consideting the effect of the atmospheric refraction. As the atmoshpere conditions cannot be modeled precisely the times reported here should be considered correct with an approximation of few minutes.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen Orbital Elements

The following table lists the orbital elements of Comet 46P/Wirtanen at epoch 12 December 2018 00:00 UTC (JD: 2458465.5). Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Element Symbol Value
Orbit eccentricity e 0.65875955
Orbit inclination i 11.74759130°
Perihelion distance q 1.05535576 AU
157,878,975 km
Aphelion distance Q 5.13005261 AU
767,444,948 km
Semi-major axis a 3.09270419 AU
462,661,962 km
Orbital period period 5.4400 years
1,986.5797 days
Date of perihelion transit Tp 2018-Dec-12 22:20:55
2,458,465.4312 JD
Next perihelion transit 2024-May-21 12:15
2,460,452.0109 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 356.34109239°
Longitude of the ascending node node 82.157639480514°
Mean anomaly M 0.0124673868215°
Mean motion n 0.18121598°/day

Visualization of Comet 46P/Wirtanen Orbit

This 3d orbit diagram is a feature of our 3D Solar System Simulator and shows the orbit of Comet 46P/Wirtanen with respect of the Sun and the orbits of the major planets. The position of Comet 46P/Wirtanen 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 46P/Wirtanen
View Comet 46P/Wirtanen in the 3D Solar System Simulator

Comet 46P/Wirtanen 15 Days Ephemeris

The following table lists the ephemerides of Comet 46P/Wirtanen computed for the past and next 7 days, with a 24 hours interval. Click on each row of the table to locate Comet 46P/Wirtanen in our Online Planetarium at the chosen date.

Date Right AscensionR.A. DeclinationDec. MagnitudeMag Constellation
2019 Sep 08 13h 14m 08s +00° 20’ 03” 25.46 Virgo
2019 Sep 09 13h 15m 24s +00° 10’ 33” 25.48 Virgo
2019 Sep 10 13h 16m 41s +00° 01’ 09” 25.50 Virgo
2019 Sep 11 13h 17m 57s -00° 08’ 12” 25.52 Virgo
2019 Sep 12 13h 19m 14s -00° 17’ 32” 25.55 Virgo
2019 Sep 13 13h 20m 30s -00° 26’ 49” 25.57 Virgo
2019 Sep 14 13h 21m 47s -00° 36’ 05” 25.59 Virgo
2019 Sep 15 13h 23m 03s -00° 45’ 15” 25.61 Virgo
2019 Sep 16 13h 24m 20s -00° 54’ 24” 25.63 Virgo
2019 Sep 17 13h 25m 36s -01° 03’ 30” 25.66 Virgo
2019 Sep 18 13h 26m 52s -01° 12’ 34” 25.68 Virgo
2019 Sep 19 13h 28m 08s -01° 21’ 34” 25.70 Virgo
2019 Sep 20 13h 29m 25s -01° 30’ 33” 25.72 Virgo
2019 Sep 21 13h 30m 41s -01° 39’ 28” 25.74 Virgo