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🌎  Greenwich, United Kingdom [change]

Comet 46P/Wirtanen

Comet 46P/Wirtanen is currently in the constellation of Ophiucus. The current Right Ascension of Comet 46P/Wirtanen is 16h 50m 35s and the Declination is -22° 19’ 34” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom [change]). The current estimated magnitude of Comet 46P/Wirtanen is 31.00 (JPL).

Summary of key facts about Comet 46P/Wirtanen [tip: you can also create a Quick Access page for this data if you access it frequently and would like to have a simpler view]:

16h 50m 35s
-22° 19’ 34”
  • 46P/Wirtanen is above the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom [change].
  • It is visible looking in the South-East direction at an altitude of 4° above the horizon.
  • Given its current magnitude, 46P/Wirtanen is visible only through long exposure photography.
  • See also 46P/Wirtanen rise and set times.
  • 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 information about Comet 46P/Wirtanen available on TheSkyLive:

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.

Map showing Comet 46P/Wirtanen in Ophiucus on October, 26 2021
Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View fullscreen
Map showing Comet 46P/Wirtanen in Ophiucus on October, 26 2021
Field of view: 10x6 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]

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: 16h 50m 35s
Dec: -22° 19’ 34”
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 871,065,849 kilometers, equivalent to 5.822716 Astronomical Units. Light takes 48 minutes and 25.5629 seconds to travel from Comet 46P/Wirtanen and arrive to us.

48 minutes and 25.5629 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 1970 and January 1970

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 1970 and January 1970, the closest approach of Comet 46P/Wirtanen to Earth happens on Thu Jan 1 1970 at a distance of -0.120239 Astronomical Units, or -17,987,547 kilometers:

Thu Jan 1 1970

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 31.00.


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 behavior 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 1970 and January 1970

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: 112.3°
Max altitude: 16.2°
Azimuth: 247.7°

The rise and set times are defined as the time at which the upper limb of Comet 46P/Wirtanen touches the horizon, considering the effect of the atmospheric refraction. As the atmospheric 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 0.65875956
Orbit inclination i 11.74759116°
Perihelion distance q 1.05535576 AU
157,878,975 km
Aphelion distance Q 5.13005271 AU
767,444,964 km
Semi-major axis a 3.09270424 AU
462,661,970 km
Orbital period period 5.4400 years
1,986.5798 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
2,460,452.0110 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 356.34109205166°
Longitude of the ascending node node 82.157640011058°
Mean anomaly M 0.012467382288916°
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
2021 Oct 19 - - - -
2021 Oct 20 - - - -
2021 Oct 21 - - - -
2021 Oct 22 - - - -
2021 Oct 23 - - - -
2021 Oct 24 - - - -
2021 Oct 25 - - - -
2021 Oct 26 - - - -
2021 Oct 27 - - - -
2021 Oct 28 - - - -
2021 Oct 29 - - - -
2021 Oct 30 - - - -
2021 Oct 31 - - - -
2021 Nov 01 - - - -