Welcome to my Southern Comets website.

Here you will find information, photos and finder charts of Comets - past, present and future, plus other observations of interest.

This page was last updated on 21-Jun-2018

*** 2018 COMET OBSERVING PLANNER *** excel file for both northern and southern observers
(for comets predicted to be brighter than magnitude 15).
alternatively a PDF version can be downloaded here

With 2017 passing by relatively quietly for comet activity, 2018 on the other hand 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.
No doubt there will be additions to the list as new comets are discovered throughout 2018.
The list of comets are arranged in chronological order of peak brightness (Jan 18 to Dec 18).

Further comet information can be found at:
Comet Watch on Astronomy FM http://astronomy.fm/  (join the comet watch Facebook group)

David Sergeant's book "Weird Comets and Asteroids" is now available for purchase at Springer or Amazon.
This book concentrates on some of the odd aspects of comets and asteroids, such as outbursts and schisms,
and how asteroids can temporally act as comets are discussed.

Skyhound. A good website for comet charts and information: http://cometchasing.skyhound.com/

Weekly comet information by Seiichi Yoshida http://www.aerith.net/comet/weekly/current.html
In my opinion the best website for comet information

Current Brightness of Present/Future comets from 35S latitude on 2018 June 21
Click on individual comet for information and finder charts (if available).
NIGHT MODE charts are available for the brighter comets, suitable for smart phone use at the observing field.
See below for latest images.

8th magnitude and steady. Eastern evening sky.
C/2017 T3 Atlas 9th magnitude and brightening. Very low Eastern morning sky.
66p du Toit 11th magnitude and fading. Eastern midnight sky.
11th magnitude and steady. Northern sky only. Peaked at magnitude 10 in January 2018.
Frequent volatile outbursts of small amplitude. Comet appears "Blue" due to high CO+ content.
364P PANSTARRS 12th magnitude and brightening. North-Western evening sky.
21P Giacobini-Zinner 12th magnitude and brightening. Northern morning sky.
29P Schwassmann-Wachmann 12th magnitude outbursts. Eastern morning sky.
12th magnitude and steady. Northern hemisphere only.
C/2015 O1 PANSTARRS 12th magnitude and steady. Northern hemisphere only.
37P Forbes 13th magnitude and fading. Eastern morning sky
48P Johnson 13th magnitude and brightening. Eastern morning sky
C/2017 S3 PANSTARRS 13th magnitude and brightening. Potential binocular comet for Northerners in July.
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.
Was d
iscovered on 2017 May 21 at a whopping distance of 16 AU,
nearly a record for a comet discovery.
Now shining at magnitude 18, 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.

66p finder chart June 2018

C/2016 M1 PANSTARRS finder chart June, July 2018

C/2016 M1 PANSTARRS night mode charts for June, July, Aug-Oct 2018

C/2017 T3 ATLAS finder charts for July 2018

364P PANSTARRS charts July 2018


Latest images:

Comet C/2017 T3 ATLAS post solar conjunction.
2018 June 20 at 20:22UT.
Approximate large aperture photometric V magnitude = 9.5
Solar elongation = 21 degrees.
Altitude = 6 degrees.


Comet 66p du Toit.

66p du Toit and the Grus galaxy chain (IC1459).
2018 May 16 at 18UT.
I observed the comet visually at approximately magnitude 11.0 through 25x100mm binoculars. The 5' coma was very diffuse.

2018 May 18 at 13UT.
I observed the comet visually at approximately magnitude 9.7 through 25x100mm binoculars.

Below: C/2016 R2 PANSTARRS.
Peaked at magnitude 10 in January 2018.
It displayed frequent volatile outbursts of small amplitude. Comet appears "Blue" due to high CO+ content.


Total Solar Eclipse photos from Casper Wyoming on 2017 August 21.


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 PANSTARRS page
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 http://www.yp-connect.net/~mmatti/
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

Send comments to Michael Mattiazzo : mmatti at westnet dot com dot au