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Comet 96P/Machholz 1

Comet 96P/Machholz 1 is currently in the constellation of Sagittarius. The current Right Ascension of Comet 96P/Machholz 1 is 20h 00m 44s and the Declination is -39° 16’ 47” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom [change]). The current estimated magnitude of Comet 96P/Machholz 1 is 25.15 (JPL).

Summary of key facts about Comet 96P/Machholz 1 [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]:

20h 00m 44s
-39° 16’ 47”

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Additional information about Comet 96P/Machholz 1 available on TheSkyLive:

Available Resources

Comet 96P/Machholz 1 Position and Finder Charts

Below we provide Comet 96P/Machholz 1 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 1 in Sagittarius on May, 16 2021
Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View fullscreen
Map showing Comet 96P/Machholz 1 in Sagittarius on May, 16 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 96P/Machholz 1 is right now. Click on the image to see a more detailed fullscreen tracker view.

96P/Machholz 1
RA: 20h 00m 44s
Dec: -39° 16’ 47”
Deep sky finder chart for Comet 96P/Machholz 1
Field of view: 60x40 arcmins
View fullscreen

Also check out Where is Comet 96P/Machholz 1?, a page that provides all the information needed to find Comet 96P/Machholz 1 in the sky and additional links to sky charts.

Comet 96P/Machholz 1 Distance from Earth

The distance of Comet 96P/Machholz 1 from Earth is currently 732,453,418 kilometers, equivalent to 4.896149 Astronomical Units. Light takes 40 minutes and 43.2016 seconds to travel from Comet 96P/Machholz 1 and arrive to us.

40 minutes and 43.2016 seconds

The following chart shows the distance of Comet 96P/Machholz 1 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 1 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 1 from Earth is also available as a real time updated value in the Live Position and Data Tracker.

Closest approach of Comet 96P/Machholz 1 to Earth

Between January 2013 and December 2100, the closest approach of Comet 96P/Machholz 1 to Earth happens on Fri Jun 16 2028 at a distance of 0.319897 Astronomical Units, or 47,855,858 kilometers:

Fri Jun 16 2028

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

Comet 96P/Machholz 1 brightness

The current visual magnitude of Comet 96P/Machholz 1 is 25.15.


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 1, 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 1 between January 2013 and December 2100

Comet 96P/Machholz 1 rise and set times

Location: Greenwich, United Kingdom [change]
Latitude: 51° 28’ 47” N
Longitude: 0° 00’ 00” E
Timezone: Europe/London

Comet 96P/Machholz 1 is currently not visible from Greenwich, United Kingdom [change]

The rise and set times are defined as the time at which the upper limb of Comet 96P/Machholz 1 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 1 Orbital Elements

The following table lists the orbital elements of Comet 96P/Machholz 1 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 1 Orbit

This 3d orbit diagram is a feature of our 3D Solar System Simulator and shows the orbit of Comet 96P/Machholz 1 with respect of the Sun and the orbits of the major planets. The position of Comet 96P/Machholz 1 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 1
View Comet 96P/Machholz 1 in the 3D Solar System Simulator

Comet 96P/Machholz 1 15 Days Ephemeris

The following table lists the ephemerides of Comet 96P/Machholz 1 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 1 in our Online Planetarium at the chosen date.

Date Right AscensionR.A. DeclinationDec. MagnitudeMag Constellation
2021 May 09 20h 02m 57s -38° 38’ 53” 25.23 Sagittarius
2021 May 10 20h 02m 43s -38° 43’ 44” 25.22 Sagittarius
2021 May 11 20h 02m 29s -38° 48’ 37” 25.21 Sagittarius
2021 May 12 20h 02m 12s -38° 53’ 32” 25.20 Sagittarius
2021 May 13 20h 01m 54s -38° 58’ 31” 25.19 Sagittarius
2021 May 14 20h 01m 36s -39° 03’ 32” 25.18 Sagittarius
2021 May 15 20h 01m 18s -39° 08’ 35” 25.17 Sagittarius
2021 May 16 20h 00m 57s -39° 13’ 41” 25.16 Sagittarius
2021 May 17 20h 00m 36s -39° 18’ 48” 25.15 Sagittarius
2021 May 18 20h 00m 12s -39° 23’ 58” 25.14 Sagittarius
2021 May 19 19h 59m 49s -39° 29’ 09” 25.13 Sagittarius
2021 May 20 19h 59m 25s -39° 34’ 23” 25.12 Sagittarius
2021 May 21 19h 58m 59s -39° 39’ 38” 25.11 Sagittarius
2021 May 22 19h 58m 32s -39° 44’ 54” 25.10 Sagittarius