Here you will find information, finder charts and images of Comets - past, present and future, plus other observations of interest.
This page was last updated on 30-Sep-2018
Information on the December 2018 to January 2019 Naked Eye Apparition of comet 46P Wirtanen
Members of the general public should read this important Guide to Observing Comets
Latest Southern Comet News: August-October 2018
2018 COMET OBSERVING PLANNER
excel file for both northern and
(for comets predicted to be brighter than magnitude 15).
alternatively a PDF version can be downloaded here
LIST OF OBSERVABLE COMETS IN 2018
With 2017 passing by relatively quietly for comet activity, 2018 will be a very busy year for the comet observer.
At least 1 comet should reach naked eye visibility in December 2018, 46P Wirtanen,
and a host of other objects, 15 in total, may appear brighter than magnitude 12.
The list of comets are arranged in chronological order of peak brightness (Jan 18 to Dec 18).
Current Brightness of Present/Future comets from 35S latitude on 2018 September 30
Finder charts below for the brighter comets
8th magnitude and fading. Eastern morning sky.
Peaked at magnitude 7.0 in September 2018.
11th magnitude and brightening. Eastern evening sky
May reach naked eye magnitude 3.5 in mid December 2018!
|C/2016 M1 PANSTARRS||
10th magnitude and fading. South-Western evening sky.
Peaked at magnitude 8.0 in June 2018.
11th magnitude and brightening. North-Eastern morning sky
May reach magnitude 9.0 in November 2018
12th magnitude and brightening (outburst on August 14). Eastern midnight sky
May reach magnitude 11 in November 2018
|C/2016 R2 PANSTARRS||
12th magnitude and steady. Northern hemisphere only. Peaked at magnitude 10 in January 2018.
Frequent volatile outbursts of small amplitude. Comet appears "Blue" due to high CO+ content.
|29P Schwassmann-Wachmann||12th magnitude outbursts. Eastern morning sky.|
|C/2016 N6 PANSTARRS||
12th magnitude and steady. Low north-eastern morning sky.
|48P Johnson||12th magnitude and fading. Eastern evening sky|
|C/2017 T3 Atlas||
13th magnitude and fading. Very low south-western evening sky
|C/2018 N1 NEOWISE||
13th magnitude and fading. Western evening sky.
New Comet peaked at magnitude 8 in late July 2018 (read discovery news below).
|C/2017 S3 PANSTARRS||
Outbursts occurred on July 1 and July 14 (where it reached magnitude 7 at best).
Was not observable from the southern hemisphere.
Observable in STEREO A images at magnitude 9 during August 1 to 14
but probably disintegrated at perihelion
|C/2017 T1 Heinze||
Disintegrated at perihelion.
Was closest to Earth on Jan 4 at 0.22AU.
|C/2015 V2 Johnson||
Peaked at magnitude 7.5 in June 2017.
|C/2017 K2 PANSTARRS||
Was discovered on 2017 May 21 at a whopping distance of 16 AU,
nearly a record for a comet discovery.
Now shining at magnitude 17, implies a very large comet (absolute magnitude of 1)
Perihelion at 1.8AU occurs in December 2022, unfortunately when the comet is near conjunction.
It will be distant from the Earth and Sun, thus not likely to become brighter than magnitude 5.
The comet may be dynamically new (first approach to the Sun) and may be experiencing abnormally high activity currently. This comet may fizzle and fail to reach naked eye visibility.
However it will be a favourable southern comet, situated deep in southern evening skies in 2022.
46P Wirtanen finder charts for October (magnitude 11 to 9) November (magnitude 8 to 6 ) December (magnitude 6 to 3).
21P Giacobini-Zinner finder charts for October 2018 (magnitude 8 to 9) and November (9 to 11)
38P Stephan-Oterma finder charts for October (magnitude 10.5 to 9.5) November (magnitude 9.5-9.0) December (magnitude 9.0-10.0)
C/2016 M1 PANSTARRS charts for Aug-Oct 2018 (magnitude 9 to 11)
46P Wirtanen on 2018 September 20.
21p Giacobini-Zinner on 2018 September 20. Dust tail is > 1 degree long.
Wide field image of 21p Giacobini-Zinner on 2018 September 13 with star clusters M35 at top right and M37 at lower left.
21p Giacobini-Zinner on 2018 September 13 with star clusters M35 and NGC 2158 at right
Below C/2018 N1 NEOWISE (lower left) on 2018 August 6. Rho Oph cloud
complex at centre. Antares at lower right. Globular cluster M4 at upper
Comet estimated at magnitude 9.2 through 25x100mm binoculars
New Comet NEOWISE at top with planetary nebula NGC 246 in Cetus below on 2018 July 9.
C/2017 S3 PANSTARRS in outburst. July 2 image.
Outbursts occurred on July 1 and July 14 (where it reached magnitude 7 at best). Was not observable from the southern hemisphere.
Observable in STEREO A images at magnitude 9 during August 1 to 14 but probably disintegrated at perihelion
Total Solar Eclipse photos from Casper Wyoming on 2017 August 21.
THE DOUBLE COMET SHOW OF MARCH 2013
Was one of the highlights on the comet observing calendar.
2 comets C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS and C/2012 F6 Lemmon
were simultaneously visible to the unaided eye during the evenings of early March 2013
Comet C/2011 L4
Comet C/2012 F6 Lemmon page
What a privilege it is to observe a great comet. My tally is 4 since I began observing comets in 1986.
Click on links for additional photos and information.
C/1996 B2 Hyakutake
(Great comet of 1996)
C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp (Great comet of 1997)
C/2006 P1 McNaught (Great comet of 2007)
C/2011 W3 Lovejoy (Great comet of 2011)
Also visit my alternate website at
which consists of additional photos and observations of comets personally witnessed since 1996.
A history of my comet observations since 1986 can be downloaded here
Further comet information can be found at:
Comet Watch Facebook group
A website for comet charts and information:
Weekly comet information by Seiichi Yoshida http://www.aerith.net/comet/weekly/current.html
In my opinion the best website for comet information and light curve predictions.
Send comments to Michael Mattiazzo : mmatti
at westnet dot com dot au