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A Complete Guide to the Solar System and the Night Sky
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public Observing fromLocation: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
north SunriseRise: 7:43  
clear_day Transit: 11:47  
SunsetSet: 15:52 south
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Comets » 

Comet 96P/Machholz

Altitude: -64.3°   Azimuth: 0.7°   Direction: North

Comet 96P/Machholz is currently in the constellation of Sagittarius.

The current Right Ascension of Comet 96P/Machholz is 18h 02m 35s and the Declination is -25° 44’ 44” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt). The current estimated magnitude of Comet 96P/Machholz is 22.44 (JPL).

18h 02m 35s
-25° 44’ 44”

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 96P/Machholz from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 115.8°
Max altitude: 12.8°
Azimuth: 244.2°
  • 96P/Machholz is below the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.
  • Given its current magnitude, 96P/Machholz 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 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.

Finder chart of 96P/Machholz in Sagittarius on December,02 2023
Map showing Comet 96P/Machholz in Sagittarius on December, 02 2023
Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View fullscreen
Finder chart of 96P/Machholz
Map showing Comet 96P/Machholz in Sagittarius on December, 02 2023
Field of view: 10x6 degrees
View fullscreen

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 02m 35s
Dec: -25° 44’ 44”
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 730,483,101 kilometers, equivalent to 4.882978 Astronomical Units. Light takes 40 minutes and 36.6293 seconds to travel from Comet 96P/Machholz and arrive to us.

40 minutes and 36.6293 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.

Chart of the distance of Comet 96P/Machholz 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 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 1 January 2013 and 30 December 2100, the closest approach of Comet 96P/Machholz to Earth happens on Fri Jun 16 2028 at a distance of 0.319896 Astronomical Units, or 47,855,756 kilometers:

Fri Jun 16 2028

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

Comet 96P/Machholz Brightness and Light Curve

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.

Chart of the magnitude of Comet 96P/Machholz as a function of time

Comet 96P/Machholz Orbital Elements

The following table lists the orbital elements of Comet 96P/Machholz at epoch 16 February 2009 00:00 UTC (JD: 2454879.5). Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Element Symbol Value
Orbit eccentricity e 0.95913614
Orbit inclination i 58.33965101°
Perihelion distance q 0.12391231 AU
18,537,017 km
Aphelion distance Q 5.94072730 AU
888,720,156 km
Semi-major axis a 3.03231980 AU
453,628,586 km
Orbital period period 5.2804 years
1,928.6833 days
Date of perihelion transit Tp 2007-Apr-05 10:28:58
2,454,195.9368 JD
Next perihelion transit 2012-Jul-16 02:52
2,456,124.6201 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 14.766151892952°
Longitude of the ascending node node 94.310553881627°
Mean anomaly M 127.59106252743°
Mean motion n 0.18665584°/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
2023 Nov 25 17h 55m 59s -25° 36’ 51” 22.35 Sagittarius
2023 Nov 26 17h 56m 54s -25° 38’ 03” 22.36 Sagittarius
2023 Nov 27 17h 57m 51s -25° 39’ 11” 22.38 Sagittarius
2023 Nov 28 17h 58m 46s -25° 40’ 19” 22.39 Sagittarius
2023 Nov 29 17h 59m 43s -25° 41’ 26” 22.40 Sagittarius
2023 Nov 30 18h 00m 38s -25° 42’ 32” 22.42 Sagittarius
2023 Dec 01 18h 01m 35s -25° 43’ 36” 22.43 Sagittarius
2023 Dec 02 18h 02m 31s -25° 44’ 39” 22.44 Sagittarius
2023 Dec 03 18h 03m 28s -25° 45’ 42” 22.46 Sagittarius
2023 Dec 04 18h 04m 23s -25° 46’ 41” 22.47 Sagittarius
2023 Dec 05 18h 05m 21s -25° 47’ 42” 22.48 Sagittarius
2023 Dec 06 18h 06m 16s -25° 48’ 39” 22.49 Sagittarius
2023 Dec 07 18h 07m 14s -25° 49’ 36” 22.51 Sagittarius
2023 Dec 08 18h 08m 09s -25° 50’ 33” 22.52 Sagittarius