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Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS)

Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) is currently in the constellation of Lynx. The current Right Ascension of Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) is 08h 26m 36s and the Declination is +39° 30’ 02” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom [change]). The current estimated magnitude of Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) is 20.26 (JPL) while the latest observed magnitude is 18.4 (COBS).

Summary of key facts about Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) [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 26m 36s
+39° 30’ 02”
  • C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) is above the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom [change].
  • It is visible looking in the West direction at an altitude of 57° above the horizon.
  • Given its current magnitude, C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) is visible only through long exposure photography.
  • See also C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) 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 C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) available on TheSkyLive:

Available Resources

Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) Position and Finder Charts

Below we provide Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) 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 C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) in Lynx on May, 17 2021
Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View fullscreen
Map showing Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) in Lynx on May, 17 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 C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) is right now. Click on the image to see a more detailed fullscreen tracker view.

C/2020 M3 (ATLAS)
RA: 08h 26m 36s
Dec: +39° 30’ 02”
Deep sky finder chart for Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS)
Field of view: 60x40 arcmins
View fullscreen

Also check out Where is Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS)?, a page that provides all the information needed to find Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) in the sky and additional links to sky charts.

Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) Distance from Earth

The distance of Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) from Earth is currently 490,485,989 kilometers, equivalent to 3.278696 Astronomical Units. Light takes 27 minutes and 16.0852 seconds to travel from Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) and arrive to us.

27 minutes and 16.0852 seconds

The following chart shows the distance of Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) 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 C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) 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 C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) from Earth is also available as a real time updated value in the Live Position and Data Tracker.

Closest approach of Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) to Earth

Between January 2013 and December 2100, the closest approach of Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) to Earth happens on Sat Nov 14 2020 at a distance of 0.358402 Astronomical Units, or 53,616,179 kilometers:

Sat Nov 14 2020

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

Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) brightness

The current visual magnitude of Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) is 20.26.


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 C/2020 M3 (ATLAS), 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 C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) between January 2013 and December 2100

Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) rise and set times

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

Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) is circumpolar and transits at 16:44 UTC (altitude: 78.0°)

The rise and set times are defined as the time at which the upper limb of Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) 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 C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) Orbital Elements

The following table lists the orbital elements of Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) at epoch 23 November 2020 00:00 UTC (JD: 2459177.5). Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Element Symbol Value
Orbit eccentricity e 0.95270819
Orbit inclination i 23.47352820°
Perihelion distance q 1.26824827 AU
189,727,241 km
Aphelion distance Q 52.36675906 AU
7,833,955,667 km
Semi-major axis a 26.81750367 AU
4,011,841,454 km
Orbital period period 138.8800 years
50,725.4548 days
Date of perihelion transit Tp 2020-Oct-25 14:58:18
2,459,148.1238 JD
Next perihelion transit 2159-Sep-13 01:53
2,509,873.5787 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 328.4462512103°
Longitude of the ascending node node 71.250235413095°
Mean anomaly M 0.20848354795742°
Mean motion n 0.00709703°/day

Visualization of Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) Orbit

This 3d orbit diagram is a feature of our 3D Solar System Simulator and shows the orbit of Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) with respect of the Sun and the orbits of the major planets. The position of Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) 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/2020 M3 (ATLAS)
View Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) in the 3D Solar System Simulator

Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) 15 Days Ephemeris

The following table lists the ephemerides of Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) computed for the past and next 7 days, with a 24 hours interval. Click on each row of the table to locate Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) in our Online Planetarium at the chosen date.

Date Right AscensionR.A. DeclinationDec. MagnitudeMag Constellation
2021 May 10 08h 13m 48s +40° 26’ 31” 20.07 Lynx
2021 May 11 08h 15m 27s +40° 19’ 22” 20.10 Lynx
2021 May 12 08h 17m 06s +40° 12’ 10” 20.12 Lynx
2021 May 13 08h 18m 43s +40° 04’ 58” 20.15 Lynx
2021 May 14 08h 20m 22s +39° 57’ 44” 20.17 Lynx
2021 May 15 08h 22m 00s +39° 50’ 30” 20.19 Lynx
2021 May 16 08h 23m 39s +39° 43’ 15” 20.22 Lynx
2021 May 17 08h 25m 15s +39° 36’ 01” 20.24 Lynx
2021 May 18 08h 26m 53s +39° 28’ 45” 20.27 Lynx
2021 May 19 08h 28m 31s +39° 21’ 29” 20.29 Lynx
2021 May 20 08h 30m 07s +39° 14’ 11” 20.31 Lynx
2021 May 21 08h 31m 45s +39° 06’ 52” 20.34 Lynx
2021 May 22 08h 33m 20s +38° 59’ 35” 20.36 Lynx
2021 May 23 08h 34m 56s +38° 52’ 15” 20.38 Lynx