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Comet 9P/Tempel 1

Comet 9P/Tempel 1 is currently in the constellation of Gemini. The current Right Ascension of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 is 08h 01m 45s and the Declination is +31° 58’ 39” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom [change]). The current estimated magnitude of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 is 19.70 (JPL) while the latest observed magnitude is 19.3 (COBS).

Summary of key facts about Comet 9P/Tempel 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]:

08h 01m 45s
+31° 58’ 39”
  • 9P/Tempel 1 is above the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom [change].
  • It is visible looking in the North-East direction at an altitude of 5° above the horizon.
  • Given its current magnitude, 9P/Tempel 1 is visible only through long exposure photography.
  • See also 9P/Tempel 1 rise and set times.
  • 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.

Additional information about Comet 9P/Tempel 1 available on TheSkyLive:

Available Resources

Comet 9P/Tempel 1 Position and Finder Charts

Below we provide Comet 9P/Tempel 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 9P/Tempel 1 in Gemini on January, 25 2021
Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View fullscreen
Map showing Comet 9P/Tempel 1 in Gemini 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 9P/Tempel 1 is right now. Click on the image to see a more detailed fullscreen tracker view.

9P/Tempel 1
RA: 08h 01m 45s
Dec: +31° 58’ 39”
Deep sky finder chart for Comet 9P/Tempel 1
Field of view: 60x40 arcmins
View fullscreen

Also check out Where is Comet 9P/Tempel 1?, a page that provides all the information needed to find Comet 9P/Tempel 1 in the sky and additional links to sky charts.

Comet 9P/Tempel 1 Distance from Earth

The distance of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 from Earth is currently 368,397,854 kilometers, equivalent to 2.462588 Astronomical Units. Light takes 20 minutes and 28.8430 seconds to travel from Comet 9P/Tempel 1 and arrive to us.

20 minutes and 28.8430 seconds

The following chart shows the distance of Comet 9P/Tempel 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 9P/Tempel 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 9P/Tempel 1 from Earth is also available as a real time updated value in the Live Position and Data Tracker.

Closest approach of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 to Earth

Between January 2013 and December 2100, the closest approach of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 to Earth happens on Sat Jun 16 2040 at a distance of 0.946381 Astronomical Units, or 141,576,578 kilometers:

Sat Jun 16 2040

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

Comet 9P/Tempel 1 brightness

The current visual magnitude of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 is 19.70.


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 9P/Tempel 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 9P/Tempel 1 between January 2013 and December 2100

Comet 9P/Tempel 1 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 9P/Tempel 1 rise, transit and set times from Greenwich, United Kingdom [change] are the following (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 58.0°
Max altitude: 70.5°
Azimuth: 302.0°

The rise and set times are defined as the time at which the upper limb of Comet 9P/Tempel 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 9P/Tempel 1 Orbital Elements

The following table lists the orbital elements of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 at epoch 30 May 2016 00:00 UTC (JD: 2457539.5). Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Element Symbol Value
Orbit eccentricity e 0.50962526
Orbit inclination i 10.47386415°
Perihelion distance q 1.54254954 AU
230,762,128 km
Aphelion distance Q 4.74875962 AU
710,404,329 km
Semi-major axis a 3.14565458 AU
470,583,228 km
Orbital period period 5.5800 years
2,037.8160 days
Date of perihelion transit Tp 2016-Aug-02 13:52:33
2,457,603.0782 JD
Next perihelion transit 2022-Mar-02 09:27
2,459,640.8942 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 179.20358087344°
Longitude of the ascending node node 68.749598031609°
Mean anomaly M 348.76829861189°
Mean motion n 0.17665972°/day

Visualization of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 Orbit

This 3d orbit diagram is a feature of our 3D Solar System Simulator and shows the orbit of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 with respect of the Sun and the orbits of the major planets. The position of Comet 9P/Tempel 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 9P/Tempel 1
View Comet 9P/Tempel 1 in the 3D Solar System Simulator

Comet 9P/Tempel 1 15 Days Ephemeris

The following table lists the ephemerides of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 computed for the past and next 7 days, with a 24 hours interval. Click on each row of the table to locate Comet 9P/Tempel 1 in our Online Planetarium at the chosen date.

Date Right AscensionR.A. DeclinationDec. MagnitudeMag Constellation
2021 Jan 18 08h 09m 39s +31° 26’ 59” 19.77 Cancer
2021 Jan 19 08h 08m 39s +31° 31’ 29” 19.76 Cancer
2021 Jan 20 08h 07m 36s +31° 35’ 53” 19.75 Gemini
2021 Jan 21 08h 06m 34s +31° 40’ 12” 19.74 Gemini
2021 Jan 22 08h 05m 31s +31° 44’ 23” 19.73 Gemini
2021 Jan 23 08h 04m 29s +31° 48’ 29” 19.72 Gemini
2021 Jan 24 08h 03m 26s +31° 52’ 27” 19.72 Gemini
2021 Jan 25 08h 02m 25s +31° 56’ 20” 19.71 Gemini
2021 Jan 26 08h 01m 22s +32° 00’ 05” 19.70 Gemini
2021 Jan 27 08h 00m 20s +32° 03’ 42” 19.69 Gemini
2021 Jan 28 07h 59m 17s +32° 07’ 14” 19.69 Gemini
2021 Jan 29 07h 58m 14s +32° 10’ 36” 19.68 Gemini
2021 Jan 30 07h 57m 12s +32° 13’ 53” 19.67 Gemini
2021 Jan 31 07h 56m 12s +32° 17’ 00” 19.67 Gemini