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public Observing fromLocation: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
north SunriseRise: 4:49  
clear_day Transit: 12:56  
SunsetSet: 21:04 south
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Comets » 

Comet 46P/Wirtanen

Comet 46P/Wirtanen is currently in the constellation of Capricornus.

The current Right Ascension of Comet 46P/Wirtanen is 21h 17m 18s and the Declination is -24° 41’ 28” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt). The current estimated magnitude of Comet 46P/Wirtanen is 21.25 (JPL).

21h 17m 18s
-24° 41’ 28”

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 46P/Wirtanen from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 114.6°
Max altitude: 13.9°
Azimuth: 245.3°
  • 46P/Wirtanen is below the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.
  • Given its current magnitude, 46P/Wirtanen 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 46P/Wirtanen Position and Finder Charts

Below we provide Comet 46P/Wirtanen 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 46P/Wirtanen in Capricornus on June,01 2023
Map showing Comet 46P/Wirtanen in Capricornus on June, 01 2023
Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View fullscreen
Finder chart of 46P/Wirtanen
Map showing Comet 46P/Wirtanen in Capricornus on June, 01 2023
Field of view: 10x6 degrees
View fullscreen

Higher precision deep sky finder chart, 60 arcmin wide, showing where Comet 46P/Wirtanen is right now. Click on the image to see a more detailed fullscreen tracker view.

RA: 21h 17m 18s
Dec: -24° 41’ 28”
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 from Earth

The distance of Comet 46P/Wirtanen from Earth is currently 435,246,215 kilometers, equivalent to 2.909441 Astronomical Units. Light takes 24 minutes and 11.8251 seconds to travel from Comet 46P/Wirtanen and arrive to us.

24 minutes and 11.8251 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.

Chart of the distance of Comet 46P/Wirtanen 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 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 1 January 2013 and 30 December 2100, the closest approach of Comet 46P/Wirtanen to Earth happens on Mon Dec 17 2018 at a distance of 0.077509 Astronomical Units, or 11,595,162 kilometers:

Mon Dec 17 2018

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

Comet 46P/Wirtanen Brightness and Light Curve

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.

Chart of the magnitude of Comet 46P/Wirtanen as a function of time

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 0.65875968
Orbit inclination i 11.74759189°
Perihelion distance q 1.05535577 AU
157,878,976 km
Aphelion distance Q 5.13005504 AU
767,445,312 km
Semi-major axis a 3.09270540 AU
462,662,144 km
Orbital period period 5.4390 years
1,986.5809 days
Date of perihelion transit Tp 2018-Dec-12 22:20:55
2,458,465.4312 JD
Next perihelion transit 2024-May-21 12:17
2,460,452.0121 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 356.34109457074°
Longitude of the ascending node node 82.157638993407°
Mean anomaly M 0.012467187040873°
Mean motion n 0.18121588°/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
2023 May 25 21h 15m 54s -24° 17’ 52” 21.39 Capricornus
2023 May 26 21h 16m 09s -24° 20’ 31” 21.37 Capricornus
2023 May 27 21h 16m 22s -24° 23’ 17” 21.35 Capricornus
2023 May 28 21h 16m 35s -24° 26’ 11” 21.34 Capricornus
2023 May 29 21h 16m 45s -24° 29’ 09” 21.32 Capricornus
2023 May 30 21h 16m 56s -24° 32’ 16” 21.30 Capricornus
2023 May 31 21h 17m 06s -24° 35’ 29” 21.29 Capricornus
2023 Jun 01 21h 17m 13s -24° 38’ 48” 21.27 Capricornus
2023 Jun 02 21h 17m 20s -24° 42’ 15” 21.25 Capricornus
2023 Jun 03 21h 17m 26s -24° 45’ 47” 21.23 Capricornus
2023 Jun 04 21h 17m 30s -24° 49’ 27” 21.22 Capricornus
2023 Jun 05 21h 17m 34s -24° 53’ 13” 21.20 Capricornus
2023 Jun 06 21h 17m 35s -24° 57’ 07” 21.18 Capricornus
2023 Jun 07 21h 17m 35s -25° 01’ 09” 21.17 Capricornus