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Comet 96P/Machholz

Comet 96P/Machholz is currently in the constellation of Sagittarius. The current Right Ascension of Comet 96P/Machholz is 18h 20m 09s and the Declination is -36° 24’ 14” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom [change]). The current estimated magnitude of Comet 96P/Machholz is 26.02 (JPL).

Summary of key facts about Comet 96P/Machholz [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]:

18h 20m 09s
-36° 24’ 14”

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Additional information about Comet 96P/Machholz available on TheSkyLive:

Available Resources

Comet 96P/Machholz Position and Finder Charts

Below we provide Comet 96P/Machholz 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 96P/Machholz in Sagittarius on October, 25 2020
Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View fullscreen
Map showing Comet 96P/Machholz in Sagittarius on October, 25 2020
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 96P/Machholz is right now. Click on the image to see a more detailed fullscreen tracker view.

RA: 18h 20m 09s
Dec: -36° 24’ 14”
Deep sky finder chart for Comet 96P/Machholz
Field of view: 60x40 arcmins
View fullscreen

Also check out Where is Comet 96P/Machholz?, a page that provides all the information needed to find Comet 96P/Machholz in the sky and additional links to sky charts.

Comet 96P/Machholz Distance from Earth

The distance of Comet 96P/Machholz from Earth is currently 935,120,779 kilometers, equivalent to 6.250896 Astronomical Units. Light takes 51 minutes and 59.2272 seconds to travel from Comet 96P/Machholz and arrive to us.

51 minutes and 59.2272 seconds

The following chart shows the distance of Comet 96P/Machholz 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 96P/Machholz 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 96P/Machholz from Earth is also available as a real time updated value in the Live Position and Data Tracker.

Closest approach of Comet 96P/Machholz to Earth

Between January 2013 and December 2100, the closest approach of Comet 96P/Machholz to Earth happens on Fri Jun 16 2028 at a distance of 0.319897 Astronomical Units, or 47,855,859 kilometers:

Fri Jun 16 2028

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

Comet 96P/Machholz brightness

The current visual magnitude of Comet 96P/Machholz is 26.02.


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 96P/Machholz, 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 96P/Machholz between January 2013 and December 2100

Comet 96P/Machholz 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 96P/Machholz rise, transit and set times from Greenwich, United Kingdom [change] are the following (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 126.4°
Max altitude: 2.1°
Azimuth: 233.6°

The rise and set times are defined as the time at which the upper limb of Comet 96P/Machholz 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 96P/Machholz Orbital Elements

The following table lists the orbital elements of Comet 96P/Machholz at epoch 02 November 2008 00:00 UTC (JD: 2454773.5). Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Element Symbol Value
Orbit eccentricity e 0.95920748
Orbit inclination i 58.53858183°
Perihelion distance q 0.12371423 AU
18,507,386 km
Aphelion distance Q 5.94182148 AU
888,883,844 km
Semi-major axis a 3.03276786 AU
453,695,615 km
Orbital period period 5.2800 years
1,929.1108 days
Date of perihelion transit Tp 2007-Apr-05 15:44:45
2,454,196.1561 JD
Next perihelion transit 2012-Jul-16 18:24
2,456,125.2669 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 14.746313885451°
Longitude of the ascending node node 94.350812930629°
Mean anomaly M 107.7407308762°
Mean motion n 0.18661447°/day

Visualization of Comet 96P/Machholz Orbit

This 3d orbit diagram is a feature of our 3D Solar System Simulator and shows the orbit of Comet 96P/Machholz with respect of the Sun and the orbits of the major planets. The position of Comet 96P/Machholz 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 96P/Machholz
View Comet 96P/Machholz in the 3D Solar System Simulator

Comet 96P/Machholz 15 Days Ephemeris

The following table lists the ephemerides of Comet 96P/Machholz computed for the past and next 7 days, with a 24 hours interval. Click on each row of the table to locate Comet 96P/Machholz in our Online Planetarium at the chosen date.

Date Right AscensionR.A. DeclinationDec. MagnitudeMag Constellation
2020 Oct 18 18h 17m 33s -36° 34’ 44” 26.00 Sagittarius
2020 Oct 19 18h 17m 53s -36° 33’ 14” 26.00 Sagittarius
2020 Oct 20 18h 18m 12s -36° 31’ 45” 26.00 Sagittarius
2020 Oct 21 18h 18m 33s -36° 30’ 16” 26.01 Sagittarius
2020 Oct 22 18h 18m 56s -36° 28’ 49” 26.01 Sagittarius
2020 Oct 23 18h 19m 18s -36° 27’ 21” 26.02 Sagittarius
2020 Oct 24 18h 19m 41s -36° 25’ 55” 26.02 Sagittarius
2020 Oct 25 18h 20m 04s -36° 24’ 30” 26.02 Sagittarius
2020 Oct 26 18h 20m 29s -36° 23’ 07” 26.03 Sagittarius
2020 Oct 27 18h 20m 53s -36° 21’ 43” 26.03 Sagittarius
2020 Oct 28 18h 21m 19s -36° 20’ 21” 26.03 Sagittarius
2020 Oct 29 18h 21m 45s -36° 18’ 59” 26.04 Sagittarius
2020 Oct 30 18h 22m 12s -36° 17’ 38” 26.04 Sagittarius
2020 Oct 31 18h 22m 39s -36° 16’ 17” 26.05 Sagittarius