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public Observing fromLocation: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
north SunriseRise: 7:00  
clear_day Transit: 12:48  
SunsetSet: 18:34 south
sunny DaytimeWhat's Visible Now
Comets » 

Comet 78P/Gehrels

Altitude: 4.5°   Azimuth: 122.8°   Direction: East-South-East

Comet 78P/Gehrels is currently in the constellation of Libra. The current Right Ascension of Comet 78P/Gehrels is 15h 29m 21s and the Declination is -15° 57’ 26” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt). The current estimated magnitude of Comet 78P/Gehrels is 22.36 (JPL).

15h 29m 21s
-15° 57’ 26”

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 78P/Gehrels from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 106.0°
Max altitude: 22.6°
Azimuth: 254.0°
  • 78P/Gehrels is above the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.
  • Right now it is placed in the East-South-East direction at an altitude of 4° above the horizon.
  • Given its current magnitude, 78P/Gehrels 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 78P/Gehrels Position and Finder Charts

Below we provide Comet 78P/Gehrels 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 78P/Gehrels in Libra on October,02 2023
Map showing Comet 78P/Gehrels in Libra on October, 02 2023
Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View fullscreen
Finder chart of 78P/Gehrels
Map showing Comet 78P/Gehrels in Libra on October, 02 2023
Field of view: 10x6 degrees
View fullscreen

Higher precision deep sky finder chart, 60 arcmin wide, showing where Comet 78P/Gehrels is right now. Click on the image to see a more detailed fullscreen tracker view.

RA: 15h 29m 21s
Dec: -15° 57’ 26”
Deep sky finder chart for Comet 78P/Gehrels
Field of view: 60x40 arcmins
View fullscreen

Also check out Where is Comet 78P/Gehrels?, a page that provides all the information needed to find Comet 78P/Gehrels in the sky and additional links to sky charts.

Comet 78P/Gehrels Distance from Earth

The distance of Comet 78P/Gehrels from Earth is currently 879,732,597 kilometers, equivalent to 5.880649 Astronomical Units. Light takes 48 minutes and 54.4721 seconds to travel from Comet 78P/Gehrels and arrive to us.

48 minutes and 54.4721 seconds

The following chart shows the distance of Comet 78P/Gehrels 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 78P/Gehrels 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 78P/Gehrels from Earth is also available as a real time updated value in the Live Position and Data Tracker.

Closest Approach of Comet 78P/Gehrels to Earth

Between 1 January 2013 and 30 December 2100, the closest approach of Comet 78P/Gehrels to Earth happens on Thu Dec 31 2026 at a distance of 1.558245 Astronomical Units, or 233,110,168 kilometers:

Thu Dec 31 2026

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

Comet 78P/Gehrels Brightness and Light Curve

The following chart is the predicted light curve (visual magnitude as a function of time) of Comet 78P/Gehrels, 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 78P/Gehrels as a function of time

Comet 78P/Gehrels Orbital Elements

The following table lists the orbital elements of Comet 78P/Gehrels at epoch 25 November 2014 00:00 UTC (JD: 2456987.5). Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Element Symbol Value
Orbit eccentricity e 0.46163737
Orbit inclination i 6.25269651°
Perihelion distance q 2.01153655 AU
300,921,585 km
Aphelion distance Q 5.46125761 AU
816,992,511 km
Semi-major axis a 3.73639708 AU
558,957,048 km
Orbital period period 7.2225 years
2,638.0193 days
Date of perihelion transit Tp 2012-Jan-12 02:31:06
2,455,938.6049 JD
Next perihelion transit 2019-Apr-03 02:58
2,458,576.6242 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 192.75585994643°
Longitude of the ascending node node 210.56267575334°
Mean anomaly M 143.13853885266°
Mean motion n 0.13646602°/day

Visualization of Comet 78P/Gehrels Orbit

This 3d orbit diagram is a feature of our 3D Solar System Simulator and shows the orbit of Comet 78P/Gehrels with respect of the Sun and the orbits of the major planets. The position of Comet 78P/Gehrels 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 78P/Gehrels
View Comet 78P/Gehrels in the 3D Solar System Simulator

Comet 78P/Gehrels 15 Days Ephemeris

The following table lists the ephemerides of Comet 78P/Gehrels computed for the past and next 7 days, with a 24 hours interval. Click on each row of the table to locate Comet 78P/Gehrels in our Online Planetarium at the chosen date.

Date Right AscensionR.A. DeclinationDec. MagnitudeMag Constellation
2023 Sep 25 15h 24m 23s -15° 38’ 45” 22.35 Libra
2023 Sep 26 15h 25m 01s -15° 41’ 13” 22.35 Libra
2023 Sep 27 15h 25m 41s -15° 43’ 42” 22.35 Libra
2023 Sep 28 15h 26m 20s -15° 46’ 13” 22.35 Libra
2023 Sep 29 15h 26m 59s -15° 48’ 42” 22.36 Libra
2023 Sep 30 15h 27m 41s -15° 51’ 14” 22.36 Libra
2023 Oct 01 15h 28m 22s -15° 53’ 44” 22.36 Libra
2023 Oct 02 15h 29m 03s -15° 56’ 17” 22.36 Libra
2023 Oct 03 15h 29m 44s -15° 58’ 50” 22.36 Libra
2023 Oct 04 15h 30m 25s -16° 01’ 22” 22.37 Libra
2023 Oct 05 15h 31m 09s -16° 03’ 55” 22.37 Libra
2023 Oct 06 15h 31m 50s -16° 06’ 29” 22.37 Libra
2023 Oct 07 15h 32m 35s -16° 09’ 02” 22.37 Libra
2023 Oct 08 15h 33m 17s -16° 11’ 35” 22.37 Libra