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Comet 46P/Wirtanen

Available Resources

Comet 46P/Wirtanen Sky Charts and Coordinates

This is a simplified sky chart, showing where Comet 46P/Wirtanen is now with respect to the brightest stars and constellations.

More advanced sky charts are available on TheSkyLive for this object: 1) the Online Planetarium which is interactive and allows to select dates and additional objects to visualize; and 2) the Live Position and Data Tracker which provides the highest precision position data and features deep sky imagery from the Digitized Sky Survey.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen in Taurus on December, 12 2018
High Precision Live Sky Chart
 = visible to the naked eye
 = binocular, brighter than 10th magnitude
= current altitude ≥ 30°   = current altitude < 30°   = below the horizon
Location: Greenwich, United Kingdom [change]
03h 28m 44s
+07° 40’ 12”

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.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen Rise and Set Times

Today's Comet 46P/Wirtanen rise, transit and set times from Greenwich, United Kingdom [change]. All times are relative to the Europe/London timezone.

Azimuth: 82.0°
Max altitude: 47.5°
Azimuth: 276.5°

Comet 46P/Wirtanen Orbit Diagram

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 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
2018 Dec 05 02h 47m 40s -13° 00’ 21” 10.19 Eridanus
2018 Dec 06 02h 51m 52s -10° 54’ 20” 10.10 Eridanus
2018 Dec 07 02h 56m 25s -08° 37’ 14” 10.01 Eridanus
2018 Dec 08 03h 01m 18s -06° 08’ 26” 9.93 Eridanus
2018 Dec 09 03h 06m 33s -03° 27’ 33” 9.85 Eridanus
2018 Dec 10 03h 12m 14s -00° 34’ 28” 9.77 Cetus
2018 Dec 11 03h 18m 19s +02° 30’ 35” 9.71 Cetus
2018 Dec 12 03h 24m 51s +05° 47’ 02” 9.65 Taurus
2018 Dec 13 03h 31m 53s +09° 13’ 38” 9.60 Taurus
2018 Dec 14 03h 39m 24s +12° 48’ 39” 9.56 Taurus
2018 Dec 15 03h 47m 27s +16° 29’ 45” 9.54 Taurus
2018 Dec 16 03h 56m 03s +20° 14’ 03” 9.53 Taurus
2018 Dec 17 04h 05m 12s +23° 58’ 23” 9.53 Taurus
2018 Dec 18 04h 14m 57s +27° 39’ 24” 9.55 Taurus

Distance of Comet 46P/Wirtanen from Earth

The following chart shows the distance of Comet 46P/Wirtanen from Earth as a function of time. Distance data is measured in Astronomical Units and sampled with a 2 days interval.

The reported distances might be inaccurate around the times of closest approach for objects passing extremely close to Earth. The value of the distance of 46P/Wirtanen is also available as a real time updated value in the Live Position and Data Tracker.

Distance of Comet 46P/Wirtanen from Earth between January 2013 and December 2075

Light Curve of Comet 46P/Wirtanen

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 2075

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 0.65876665
Orbit inclination i 11.74779039°
Perihelion distance q 1.05535122 AU
157,878,295 km
Aphelion distance Q 5.13015919 AU
767,460,893 km
Semi-major axis a 3.09275520 AU
462,669,594 km
Orbital period period 5.4400 years
1,986.6289 days
Date of perihelion transit Tp 2018-Dec-12 22:21:23
2,458,465.4315 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 356.3426966606°
Longitude of the ascending node node 82.156692379202°
Mean anomaly M 0.012409678022722°
Mean motion n 0.18121150°/day
Closest approach to Earth* 2018-Dec-17
Distance of closest approach* 0.07750278 AU
11,594,251 km

* NOTE: values for the closest approach are computed for the time interval between 2013-Jan-01 and 2075-Dec-31, with a sampling interval of 1 day.