Your guide to the Solar System and the night sky
🌎 Location: Greenwich, United Kingdom [change]
Comets » 

Comet 96P/Machholz

Available Resources

Comet 96P/Machholz Position

Comet 96P/Machholz is currently in the constellation of Sagittarius. The current Right Ascension is 19h 41m 08s and the Declination is -33° 08’ 53”.

19h 41m 08s
-33° 08’ 53”

Simplified sky chart showing where Comet 96P/Machholz is right now in the sky with respect to the brightest stars and constellations (see full screen Online Planetarium)

Map showing Comet 96P/Machholz in Sagittarius on April, 04 2020
Field of view: 60x30 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 showing where Comet 96P/Machholz is right now (view fullscreen)

RA: 19h 41m 08s
Dec: -33° 08’ 53”
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

The distance of Comet 96P/Machholz from Earth is currently 888,446,736 kilometers, equivalent to 5.938900 Astronomical Units. Light takes 49 minutes and 23.5393 seconds to travel from Comet 96P/Machholz and arrive to us.

49 minutes and 23.5393 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 0.31989566 Astronomical Units, or 47,855,710 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 25.76.


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: 123.1°
Max altitude: 5.4°
Azimuth: 236.9°
Comet 96P/Machholz is below the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom

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 0.95920749
Orbit inclination i 58.53858212°
Perihelion distance q 0.12371420 AU
18,507,382 km
Aphelion distance Q 5.94182153 AU
888,883,850 km
Semi-major axis a 3.03276787 AU
453,695,616 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 14.746310621983°
Longitude of the ascending node node 94.350814098791°
Mean anomaly M 107.74072967603°
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 Mar 28 19h 39m 29s -32° 52’ 00” 25.80 Sagittarius
2020 Mar 29 19h 39m 43s -32° 53’ 59” 25.80 Sagittarius
2020 Mar 30 19h 39m 59s -32° 56’ 03” 25.79 Sagittarius
2020 Mar 31 19h 40m 12s -32° 58’ 08” 25.79 Sagittarius
2020 Apr 01 19h 40m 24s -33° 00’ 15” 25.78 Sagittarius
2020 Apr 02 19h 40m 36s -33° 02’ 26” 25.78 Sagittarius
2020 Apr 03 19h 40m 49s -33° 04’ 40” 25.77 Sagittarius
2020 Apr 04 19h 40m 59s -33° 06’ 56” 25.77 Sagittarius
2020 Apr 05 19h 41m 09s -33° 09’ 15” 25.76 Sagittarius
2020 Apr 06 19h 41m 18s -33° 11’ 36” 25.76 Sagittarius
2020 Apr 07 19h 41m 27s -33° 14’ 00” 25.75 Sagittarius
2020 Apr 08 19h 41m 35s -33° 16’ 27” 25.75 Sagittarius
2020 Apr 09 19h 41m 43s -33° 18’ 56” 25.74 Sagittarius
2020 Apr 10 19h 41m 48s -33° 21’ 29” 25.73 Sagittarius