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public Observing fromLocation: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
north SunriseRise: 6:52  
clear_day Transit: 12:49  
SunsetSet: 18:46 south
sunny DaytimeWhat's Visible Now
Comets » 

Comet Halley (1P/Halley)

Altitude: 0.9°   Azimuth: 273.2°   Direction: West

Comet 1P/Halley, also known as Halley's Comet, is a well-known periodic comet that returns to the inner solar system about once every 76 years. It has been observed since ancient times, but it was not recognized as a periodic solar system object until its orbit was accurately calculated by Edmund Halley in the 18th century. The comet's nucleus is estimated to be about 15 kilometers in diameter and it is composed of ice, dust, and small rocky particles. When the comet gets close to the Sun, the heat causes the ice to vaporize and create a coma, a cloud of gas and dust around the nucleus, and a long tail that can stretch millions of kilometers into space. Halley's Comet has an aphelion distance of 35.1 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun, at the outer edge of the Kuiper Belt, and a perihelion distance of 0.6 AU, just inside the orbit of Venus. Its last perihelion passage was in 1986. Currently Halley's Comet is close to its aphelion and it is expected to return to the inner solar system in 2061.

Comet Halley (1P/Halley) is currently in the constellation of Hydra. The current Right Ascension of Comet Halley (1P/Halley) is 08h 23m 28s and the Declination is +02° 40’ 23” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt). The current estimated magnitude of Comet Halley (1P/Halley) is 25.63 (JPL).

08h 23m 28s
+02° 40’ 23”

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 Halley (1P/Halley) from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 87.3°
Max altitude: 41.2°
Azimuth: 272.7°
  • 1P/Halley is above the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.
  • Right now it is placed in the West direction at an altitude of 1° above the horizon.
  • Given its current magnitude, 1P/Halley 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 Halley (1P/Halley) Position and Finder Charts

Below we provide Comet Halley (1P/Halley) 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 1P/Halley in Hydra on September,27 2023
Map showing Comet Halley (1P/Halley) in Hydra on September, 27 2023
Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View fullscreen
Finder chart of 1P/Halley
Map showing Comet Halley (1P/Halley) in Hydra on September, 27 2023
Field of view: 10x6 degrees
View fullscreen

Higher precision deep sky finder chart, 60 arcmin wide, showing where Comet Halley (1P/Halley) is right now. Click on the image to see a more detailed fullscreen tracker view.

RA: 08h 23m 28s
Dec: +02° 40’ 23”
Deep sky finder chart for Comet Halley (1P/Halley)
Field of view: 60x40 arcmins
View fullscreen

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

Comet Halley (1P/Halley) Distance from Earth

The distance of Comet Halley (1P/Halley) from Earth is currently 5,335,588,061 kilometers, equivalent to 35.666203 Astronomical Units. Light takes 4 hours, 56 minutes and 37.6060 seconds to travel from Comet Halley (1P/Halley) and arrive to us.

4 hours, 56 minutes and 37.6060 seconds

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

Closest Approach of Comet Halley (1P/Halley) to Earth

Between 1 January 1600 and 30 December 2499, the closest approach of Comet Halley (1P/Halley) to Earth happens on Sat May 8 2134 at a distance of 0.093428 Astronomical Units, or 13,976,613 kilometers:

Sat May 8 2134

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

Comet Halley (1P/Halley) Brightness and Light Curve

The following chart is the predicted light curve (visual magnitude as a function of time) of Comet Halley (1P/Halley), 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 Halley (1P/Halley) as a function of time

Comet Halley (1P/Halley) Orbital Elements

The following table lists the orbital elements of Comet Halley (1P/Halley) at epoch 01 January 1970 00:00 UTC (JD: 2439857.5). Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Element Symbol Value
Orbit eccentricity e 0.96794279
Orbit inclination i 162.18787119°
Perihelion distance q 0.57471580 AU
85,976,260 km
Aphelion distance Q 35.28091967 AU
5,277,950,470 km
Semi-major axis a 17.92781774 AU
2,681,963,365 km
Orbital period period 75.9101 years
27,726.1500 days
Date of perihelion transit Tp 1986-Feb-08 15:34:24
2,446,470.1489 JD
Next perihelion transit 2062-Jan-06 19:10
2,474,196.2989 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 112.25779200487°
Longitude of the ascending node node 59.114482936739°
Mean anomaly M 274.14049194984°
Mean motion n 0.01298413°/day

Visualization of Comet Halley (1P/Halley) Orbit

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

Comet Halley (1P/Halley) 15 Days Ephemeris

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

Date Right AscensionR.A. DeclinationDec. MagnitudeMag Constellation
2023 Sep 20 08h 23m 03s +02° 44’ 45” 25.63 Hydra
2023 Sep 21 08h 23m 08s +02° 44’ 12” 25.63 Hydra
2023 Sep 22 08h 23m 11s +02° 43’ 36” 25.63 Hydra
2023 Sep 23 08h 23m 13s +02° 43’ 01” 25.63 Hydra
2023 Sep 24 08h 23m 17s +02° 42’ 28” 25.63 Hydra
2023 Sep 25 08h 23m 21s +02° 41’ 53” 25.63 Hydra
2023 Sep 26 08h 23m 24s +02° 41’ 17” 25.63 Hydra
2023 Sep 27 08h 23m 26s +02° 40’ 44” 25.63 Hydra
2023 Sep 28 08h 23m 30s +02° 40’ 09” 25.63 Hydra
2023 Sep 29 08h 23m 33s +02° 39’ 34” 25.63 Hydra
2023 Sep 30 08h 23m 35s +02° 38’ 59” 25.63 Hydra
2023 Oct 01 08h 23m 38s +02° 38’ 26” 25.63 Hydra
2023 Oct 02 08h 23m 40s +02° 37’ 51” 25.62 Hydra
2023 Oct 03 08h 23m 43s +02° 37’ 17” 25.62 Hydra