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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: 7:45  
clear_day Transit: 11:48  
SunsetSet: 15:51 south
wb_twilight Nautical TwilightWhat's Visible Now?
Comets » 

Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS)

Altitude: -28.0°   Azimuth: 62.0°   Direction: East-North-East

Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) is a comet that was discovered on May 21, 2017, by the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii. It has a hyperbolic orbit with a high inclination with respect to the ecliptic plane (close to 90°), indicating that it likely originated from the Oort Cloud. Its closest approach to the Sun, or perihelion, occurred on December 19, 2022, at a distance of 1.8 astronomical units (AU), and it reached its maximum brightness between December 2022 and February 2023. After perihelion, it is slowly becoming fainter as it continues on its journey back to the outer reaches of the solar system.

Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) is currently in the constellation of Monoceros.

The current Right Ascension of Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) is 06h 07m 03s and the Declination is -06° 14’ 39” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt). The current estimated magnitude of Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) is 14.72 (JPL) while the latest observed magnitude is 12.0 (COBS).

06h 07m 03s
-06° 14’ 39”

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 C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 96.2°
Max altitude: 32.2°
Azimuth: 263.7°
  • C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) is below the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.
  • Given its current magnitude, C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) is visible with the help of a telescope having an aperture of 8 inches (200mm) or more.
  • 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 C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) Position and Finder Charts

Below we provide Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) 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 C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) in Monoceros on December,04 2023
Map showing Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) in Monoceros on December, 04 2023
Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View fullscreen
Finder chart of C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS)
Map showing Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) in Monoceros on December, 04 2023
Field of view: 10x6 degrees
View fullscreen

Higher precision deep sky finder chart, 60 arcmin wide, showing where Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) is right now. Click on the image to see a more detailed fullscreen tracker view.

RA: 06h 07m 03s
Dec: -06° 14’ 39”
Deep sky finder chart for Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS)
Field of view: 60x40 arcmins
View fullscreen

Also check out Where is Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS)?, a page that provides all the information needed to find Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) in the sky and additional links to sky charts.

Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) Distance from Earth

The distance of Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) from Earth is currently 527,810,029 kilometers, equivalent to 3.528192 Astronomical Units. Light takes 29 minutes and 20.5847 seconds to travel from Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) and arrive to us.

29 minutes and 20.5847 seconds

The following chart shows the distance of Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) 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 C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) 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 C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) from Earth is also available as a real time updated value in the Live Position and Data Tracker.

Closest Approach of Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) to Earth

Between 1 January 2013 and 30 December 2100, the closest approach of Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) to Earth happens on Thu Jul 14 2022 at a distance of 1.807931 Astronomical Units, or 270,462,659 kilometers:

Thu Jul 14 2022

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

Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) Brightness and Light Curve

The following chart is the predicted light curve (visual magnitude as a function of time) of Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS), 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 C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) as a function of time

Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) Orbital Elements

The following table lists the orbital elements of Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) at epoch 01 December 2020 00:00 UTC (JD: 2459185.5). Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Element Symbol Value
Orbit eccentricity e 1.00046434
Orbit inclination i 87.54752167°
Perihelion distance q 1.79829497 AU
269,021,099 km
Aphelion distance Q n.a.
Semi-major axis a n.a.
Orbital period period n.a.
Date of perihelion transit Tp 2022-Dec-19 20:27:10
2,459,933.3522 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 236.17888853639°
Longitude of the ascending node node 88.254199839145°
Mean anomaly M -0.0030583294514882°
Mean motion n 0.00000409°/day

Visualization of Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) Orbit

This 3d orbit diagram is a feature of our 3D Solar System Simulator and shows the orbit of Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) with respect of the Sun and the orbits of the major planets. The position of Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) 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 C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS)
View Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) in the 3D Solar System Simulator

Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) 15 Days Ephemeris

The following table lists the ephemerides of Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) computed for the past and next 7 days, with a 24 hours interval. Click on each row of the table to locate Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) in our Online Planetarium at the chosen date.

Date Right AscensionR.A. DeclinationDec. MagnitudeMag Constellation
2023 Nov 27 06h 15m 24s -06° 53’ 15” 14.68 Monoceros
2023 Nov 28 06h 14m 21s -06° 48’ 42” 14.69 Monoceros
2023 Nov 29 06h 13m 17s -06° 43’ 59” 14.69 Monoceros
2023 Nov 30 06h 12m 11s -06° 39’ 10” 14.69 Monoceros
2023 Dec 01 06h 11m 07s -06° 34’ 12” 14.70 Monoceros
2023 Dec 02 06h 10m 00s -06° 29’ 04” 14.71 Monoceros
2023 Dec 03 06h 08m 56s -06° 23’ 49” 14.71 Monoceros
2023 Dec 04 06h 07m 49s -06° 18’ 27” 14.72 Monoceros
2023 Dec 05 06h 06m 42s -06° 12’ 56” 14.72 Monoceros
2023 Dec 06 06h 05m 35s -06° 07’ 15” 14.73 Monoceros
2023 Dec 07 06h 04m 28s -06° 01’ 27” 14.73 Monoceros
2023 Dec 08 06h 03m 21s -05° 55’ 32” 14.74 Monoceros
2023 Dec 09 06h 02m 14s -05° 49’ 28” 14.75 Monoceros
2023 Dec 10 06h 01m 08s -05° 43’ 17” 14.75 Monoceros