ephemeris date magn radius delta ra dec elong phase PA
Today20 Oct 202124.55.118 AU5.756 AU16h46m-22°08'46.2°8.1°97°
Perihelion19 May 202412.01.056 AU2.038 AU04h29m+21°25'9.9°9.5°83°
Nearest approach22 May 202412.01.057 AU2.038 AU04h39m+22°01'10.1°9.7°83°
46P/Wirtanen- 2021-10-20

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The interactive orbit chart above shows the comet's path through the solar system and its position at the given date. Green and blue lines are shown perpendicular to the ecliptic plane: Green if the path is above the ecliptic plane, blue if it is below. (Left-click and drag to rotate the view; Right-click and drag to move the view; Use scroll wheel to zoom in our out.)

The orbital elements of 46P/Wirtanen are:

            e (eccentricity)                : 0.6583560
            q (perihelion distance)         : 1.0563490
            i (inclination)                 : 11.74470
            Ω (Longitude of ascending node) : 82.15700
            ω (Argument of perihelion)      : 356.33670
            L (Longitude of perihelion)     : 78.57019
            B (Latitude of perihelion)      : -0.74518
            T (Time of perihelion passage)  : 2460450.45890
            P (Orbital period in years)     : 5.44

            Epoch                           : 2021 Oct 19
            Reference                       : MPEC 2021-O56

            Classification(s):              : Ecliptic; Jupiter family
            Tisserand (Jupiter)             : 2.819

The light curve chart below shows the estimated development of the comet's magnitude. Blue and black dots are visual and photometric CCD observations respectively from COBS or the MPC. The gray curve is based on the absolute magnitude and slope parameter as calculated from the original MPEC, or the latest values provided by the MPC (14.00 + 5 log[∆] + 15.00 log[r]), whereas the red curve is being recalculated every 6 hours based on the available COBS/MPC observations (currently 10.07 + 5 log[∆] + 15.00 log[r]).

The all-sky chart below shows the path of the comet over the same period as the light curve. The comet's current position is marked yellow.