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Comet 78P/Gehrels 2

Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 is currently in the constellation of Virgo. The current Right Ascension of Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 is 12h 40m 20s and the Declination is -08° 08’ 13” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom [change]). The current estimated magnitude of Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 is 20.72 (JPL).

Summary of key facts about Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 [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]:

12h 40m 20s
-08° 08’ 13”

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Additional information about Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 available on TheSkyLive:

Available Resources

Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 Position and Finder Charts

Below we provide Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 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 78P/Gehrels 2 in Virgo on January, 25 2021
Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View fullscreen
Map showing Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 in Virgo on January, 25 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 78P/Gehrels 2 is right now. Click on the image to see a more detailed fullscreen tracker view.

78P/Gehrels 2
RA: 12h 40m 20s
Dec: -08° 08’ 13”
Deep sky finder chart for Comet 78P/Gehrels 2
Field of view: 60x40 arcmins
View fullscreen

Also check out Where is Comet 78P/Gehrels 2?, a page that provides all the information needed to find Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 in the sky and additional links to sky charts.

Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 Distance from Earth

The distance of Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 from Earth is currently 595,278,732 kilometers, equivalent to 3.979193 Astronomical Units. Light takes 33 minutes and 5.6361 seconds to travel from Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 and arrive to us.

33 minutes and 5.6361 seconds

The following chart shows the distance of Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 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 78P/Gehrels 2 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 78P/Gehrels 2 from Earth is also available as a real time updated value in the Live Position and Data Tracker.

Closest approach of Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 to Earth

Between January 2013 and December 2100, the closest approach of Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 to Earth happens on Thu Dec 31 2026 at a distance of 1.558265 Astronomical Units, or 233,113,191 kilometers:

Thu Dec 31 2026

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

Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 brightness

The current visual magnitude of Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 is 20.72.


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 78P/Gehrels 2, 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 78P/Gehrels 2 between January 2013 and December 2100

Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 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 78P/Gehrels 2 rise, transit and set times from Greenwich, United Kingdom [change] are the following (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 98.1°
Max altitude: 30.4°
Azimuth: 261.9°

The rise and set times are defined as the time at which the upper limb of Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 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 78P/Gehrels 2 Orbital Elements

The following table lists the orbital elements of Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 at epoch 04 November 2014 00:00 UTC (JD: 2456966.5). Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Element Symbol Value
Orbit eccentricity e 0.46166432
Orbit inclination i 6.25282128°
Perihelion distance q 2.01140948 AU
300,902,576 km
Aphelion distance Q 5.46128668 AU
816,996,860 km
Semi-major axis a 3.73634808 AU
558,949,718 km
Orbital period period 7.2200 years
2,637.9674 days
Date of perihelion transit Tp 2012-Jan-12 03:29:00
2,455,938.6451 JD
Next perihelion transit 2019-Apr-03 02:42
2,458,576.6125 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 192.75619099297°
Longitude of the ascending node node 210.56262106072°
Mean anomaly M 140.2700250333°
Mean motion n 0.13646871°/day

Visualization of Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 Orbit

This 3d orbit diagram is a feature of our 3D Solar System Simulator and shows the orbit of Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 with respect of the Sun and the orbits of the major planets. The position of Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 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 2
View Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 in the 3D Solar System Simulator

Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 15 Days Ephemeris

The following table lists the ephemerides of Comet 78P/Gehrels 2 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 2 in our Online Planetarium at the chosen date.

Date Right AscensionR.A. DeclinationDec. MagnitudeMag Constellation
2021 Jan 18 12h 40m 20s -08° 06’ 12” 20.74 Virgo
2021 Jan 19 12h 40m 23s -08° 06’ 47” 20.74 Virgo
2021 Jan 20 12h 40m 26s -08° 07’ 17” 20.74 Virgo
2021 Jan 21 12h 40m 27s -08° 07’ 41” 20.73 Virgo
2021 Jan 22 12h 40m 27s -08° 07’ 58” 20.73 Virgo
2021 Jan 23 12h 40m 27s -08° 08’ 09” 20.73 Virgo
2021 Jan 24 12h 40m 24s -08° 08’ 16” 20.73 Virgo
2021 Jan 25 12h 40m 23s -08° 08’ 14” 20.73 Virgo
2021 Jan 26 12h 40m 18s -08° 08’ 08” 20.72 Virgo
2021 Jan 27 12h 40m 14s -08° 07’ 57” 20.72 Virgo
2021 Jan 28 12h 40m 09s -08° 07’ 37” 20.72 Virgo
2021 Jan 29 12h 40m 04s -08° 07’ 14” 20.72 Virgo
2021 Jan 30 12h 39m 56s -08° 06’ 42” 20.71 Virgo
2021 Jan 31 12h 39m 50s -08° 06’ 06” 20.71 Virgo