Comet Chasing in January


Comet chasing is the visual observation of telescopic comets.  Jump to:  Observing synopses    Summary data

News


There are one comet visible in binocluars this month, and three more visible in small telescopes. Many more are visible in larger instruments.
  • C/2021 A1 (Leonard) was discovered on January 3, 2021 by by G. J. Leonard at Mount Lemmon Observatory. It will reach perihelion on January 3, 2022.

  • C/2019 L3 (ATLAS) will reach perihelion on January 9, when it may be magnitude 9.5.

  • 19P/Borrelly will reach perihelion in early February 2022. It is currently predicted to reach maximum brightness of magnitude 9.2 in late January.

  • C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) will reach perihelion in mid December 2022. It is currently predicted to reach maximum brightness of magnitude 7 in mid January 2023.

  • 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko passed perihelion in early November. On November 2 this comet will passed within 0.4 AU of the earth.

  • 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann has frequent outbursts, typically resulting in a brightening of 0.5 - 1.0 magnitudes, which occur roughly every 59 days, typically taking 5-10 days to subside. Up to three subsequent outbursts may occur 5-10 days afterward, each typically smaller than the last, although on some occasions they can be even brighter than the first. These outbursts make 29P one of the most interesting comets to follow, both visually and scientifically. 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann has a 14.8-year orbital period, and last passed perihelion in early March 2019. It varies in its distance from the Sun from 5.8 AU (at perihelion) to 6.3 AU (at aphelion), which is an unusually small variation for a comet, and remains quite far from the sun at all times. This means that it can be observed more or less continuously.

  • P/2021 Q5 (ATLAS) was a new discovery on August 29 by the ATLAS survey. This comet passed perhileion on August 30.  

  • C/2021 O1 (Nishimura) was a new discovery on July 21 by H. Nishimura. It was found very low in morning twilight. It was low in the sky throughout August, reaching magnitude 9 on August 12 (at perihelion of 0.8 AU), but was difficult to observe. By the time it is observable again after the beginning of the year it likely will have faded. Predictions are 16th magnitude on January 1. There have been no observations posted since July. 

  • C/2014 UN271 (Bernardinelli-Bernstein) is an interesting Oort cloud comet that was recently reported as a result of the Dark Energy Survey. Soon after it was made public, images showed a cometary coma. Discovery credit goes to Pedro Bernardinelli and Gary Bernstein. This is a remarkable comet that was at 29 AU in 2014, with a perihelion of 10.9 AU in 2031. Its orbit extends out to 40,000 AU! It is unusually bright for its distance, so it is either intrinsically bright or unusually large for a comet. Because of its distant perihelion, this comet is not expected to become bright enough to be visually observed except in large instruments, and not until the end of the decade, but it is likely going to be the subject of intense scientific scrutiny. 

  • 4P/Faye passed perihelion in early September. It is currentlly predicted to reach maximum brightness in mid October.

  • 15P/Finlay passed perihelion on July 13. 

  • 2020 T2 (Palomar) passed perihelion in mid July.  

  • 2020 J1 (SONEAR) passed perihelion in mid April.

  • 6P/d'Arrest passed perihelion in mid September. 

  • 7P/Pons-Winnecke passed perihelion in late May. On May 27 this comet passed within 0.4 AU of the earth.

  • C/2020 R4 (Atlas) passed perihelion in early March. On March 1, this comet passed within 0.5 AU of the earth. 

  • C/2021 A2 (NEOWISE) passed perihelion in late January. In early February this comet will pass within 0.5 AU of the earth. It is currently predicted to reach a maximum brightness of magnitude 11 in early February.

  • C/2021 A4 (NEOWISE) passed perihelion in mid-March.

  • 10P/Tempel passed perihelion in late March.

  • P/2016 J3 (STEREO) passed perihelion on January 25, when it passed within 0.5 AU of the earth. This comet unexpectedly returned early, based on the orbit that was calculated for it in 2016.

  • 246P/NEAT passed perihelion in late February 2021. It is currently predicted to reach maximum brightness of magnitude 14.7 in late June.

Comets that have apparently disentegrated: C/2020 Q1 (Borisov), C/2020 P1 (NEOWISE), and C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS). Beware that various other online sources often fail to keep track of whether or not a comet still exists!

Comet Visibility in the Eyepiece

This page uses code developed for SkyTools to predict the visibility of a comet in the eyepiece.  Predicting how much aperture is required to see a comet is a very complex task.  Have a look for yourself: a comparison of the predictions below (such as "visible in small telescopes") to the magnitude of each comet shows just how poor an indicator the magnitude alone really is. When you read below that a particular aperture is required to see a comet you can have a reasonable degree of confidence that the comet can in fact be seen in the eyepiece. But always remember, comets are like cats. They both have tails and do what they want, and not always what we expect. This is one of the things that makes comet chasing interesting!

Observing Synopses for January


Explanation of Comet Synopses and charts (read this if you have questions)

C/2021 A1 (Leonard): An evening comet visible in binoculars
This comet begins the month in Pisces Austrinus at magnitude 5.2. Look for a 6' coma and a 2'-3' tail. It should fade rapidly. The best visibility is early in the month as seen from the southern hemisphere.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  
40o N Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible 1-7
Equator Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~19:20 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~19:20 Very low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~19:10 Not visible Not visible 1-25
30o S Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~20:30 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~20:30 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~20:20 Very low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~20:20 Not visible 1-

19P/Borrelly: An evening comet visible in small telescopes
This comet begins the month in Cetus at magnitude 9.5. Look for a 3.5' coma. It should brighten slowly, moving into Pisces by month's end.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N Low in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~17:40 Fairly high in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~18:00 Fairly high in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~18:10 Fairly high in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~18:30 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~18:40 1-
40o N Fairly high during evening twilight at ~18:20 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~18:30 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~18:30 High at ~18:40 High at ~18:50 1-
Equator High at ~19:20 High during evening twilight at ~19:20 High during evening twilight at ~19:20 High during evening twilight at ~19:30 High at ~19:30 1-
30o S High during evening twilight at ~20:40 High during evening twilight at ~20:30 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~20:30 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~20:30 Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~20:20 1-

C/2019 L3 (ATLAS): A morning comet visible in small telescopes
This comet begins the month in Gemini at magnitude 9.4. Look for a 4.5' coma. It should remain constant.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N High at ~00:30 High at ~23:50 Low in the western sky in moonlight at ~05:50 High at ~21:50 High at ~22:10 1-
40o N High at ~00:30 High at ~23:50 Low in the western sky in moonlight at ~05:20 High at ~21:50 High at ~22:10 1-
Equator High at ~00:30 High at ~23:50 Low in the western sky in moonlight at ~03:50 High at ~22:00 High at ~22:10 1-
30o S Fairly high in the northern sky at ~00:30 Fairly high in the northern sky at ~23:50 Fairly high in the northern sky in moonlight at ~23:50 Fairly high at ~22:20 Fairly high at ~22:10 1-

67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko: A morning comet visible in small telescopes
This comet begins the month in Cancer at magnitude 9.8. Look for a 5.5' coma. It should fade rapidly.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N High at ~02:10 High at ~01:40 Fairly high in the western sky during morning twilight at ~06:20 High at ~21:50 High at ~23:50 1-
40o N High at ~02:10 High at ~01:40 Fairly high during morning twilight at ~06:00 High at ~22:00 High at ~23:50 1-
Equator High at ~02:10 High at ~01:40 Fairly high at ~04:30 High at ~22:10 High at ~23:50 1-
30o S Fairly high at ~02:10 Fairly high at ~01:40 Fairly high in the northern sky at ~03:20 Fairly high in the northern sky at ~22:30 Fairly high at ~00:00 1-

6P/d'Arrest: An evening comet visible in an 8-inch (20 cm) telescope
This comet begins the month in Aquarius at magnitude 10.8. Look for a 4.5' coma. It should fade slowly, moving into Cetus by month's end.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N Low in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~17:50 Low in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~18:00 Low in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~18:10 Low in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~18:20 Low in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~18:30 1-
40o N Fairly high in the southern sky at ~18:30 Fairly high in the southern sky in moonlight at ~18:30 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~18:30 Fairly high in the southern sky at ~18:40 Fairly high in the southern sky at ~18:50 1-
Equator High at ~19:30 High in moonlight at ~19:30 High during evening twilight at ~19:20 High at ~19:30 High at ~19:30 1-
30o S High at ~20:40 Fairly high in moonlight at ~20:40 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~20:30 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~20:30 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~20:30 1-

4P/Faye: An evening comet visible in an 8-inch (20 cm) telescope
This comet begins the month in Monoceros at magnitude 11.8. Look for a 2' coma. It should fade by about 0.9 magnitudes, moving into Orion by month's end.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N High at ~23:50 High at ~23:20 Not visible High at ~21:50 High at ~21:40 1-
40o N High at ~23:50 High at ~23:20 Not visible High at ~21:50 High at ~21:40 1-
Equator High at ~23:50 High at ~23:20 Not visible High at ~22:00 High at ~21:40 1-
30o S High at ~23:50 High at ~23:20 Low in the western sky at ~03:10 High at ~22:10 High at ~21:40 1-

104P/Kowal: An evening comet visible in a 10-inch (25 cm) telescope
This comet begins the month in Pisces at magnitude 11.7. Look for a 4' coma. It should remain constant, moving into Cetus by month's end.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N Fairly high in the southern sky at ~18:10 Fairly high in moonlight at ~18:10 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~18:10 Fairly high at ~18:30 Fairly high at ~18:50 1-
40o N High at ~18:30 High in moonlight at ~18:30 High during evening twilight at ~18:30 High at ~18:50 High at ~19:00 1-
Equator High at ~19:30 High in moonlight at ~19:30 High during evening twilight at ~19:20 High at ~19:30 High at ~19:30 1-
30o S Fairly high during evening twilight at ~20:40 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~20:40 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~20:30 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~20:30 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~20:30 1-

C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS): A northern hemisphere morning comet visible in a 10-inch (25 cm) telescope
This comet begins the month in Ophiuchus at magnitude 12.1. Look for a 2.5' coma. It should brighten slowly.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N Low in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~06:10 Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~06:10 Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~06:20 Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~06:00 Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~05:50 1-
40o N Low in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~05:50 Low in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~05:50 Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~05:50 Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~05:50 Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~05:40 1-
Equator Not visible Not visible Not visible Low in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~05:00 Low in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~05:00 15-
30o S Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  

57P/du Toit-Neujmin-Delporte: An evening comet visible in a 10-inch (25 cm) telescope
This comet begins the month in Capricornus at magnitude 12.4. Look for a 1' coma. It should fade by about 0.6 magnitudes, moving into Aquarius by month's end.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N Low in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~17:50 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~17:50 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~18:00 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~18:10 Not visible 1-
40o N Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~18:20 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~18:20 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~18:20 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~18:30 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~18:40 1-
Equator Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~19:20 Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~19:20 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~19:20 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~19:20 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~19:20 1-
30o S Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~20:20 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~20:20 Not visible Not visible Not visible 1-21

C/2019 T4 (ATLAS): A morning comet visible in a 10-inch (25 cm) telescope
This comet begins the month in Hydra at magnitude 12.9. Look for a 1.5' coma. It should brighten slowly. The best visibility is late in the month as seen from the southern hemisphere.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  
40o N Fairly high in the southern sky at ~05:10 Fairly high in the southern sky at ~04:50 Low in the southern sky at ~05:40 Fairly high in the southern sky in moonlight at ~04:00 Fairly high in the southern sky at ~03:30 1-
Equator High at ~04:40 High at ~04:40 High at ~04:40 High in moonlight at ~04:50 High at ~03:30 1-
30o S High at ~03:20 High at ~03:30 High at ~03:30 Fairly high in the eastern sky at ~22:40 High at ~03:30 1-

29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann: An evening comet visible in an 18-inch (46 cm) telescope
This comet begins the month in Perseus at magnitude 11.4. Look for a 6' coma. It should fade slowly, moving into Taurus by month's end.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N High at ~21:40 High at ~23:00 Not visible High at ~20:10 High at ~19:40 1-12, 17-
40o N High at ~21:40 High at ~23:10 Not visible High at ~20:10 High at ~19:40 1-12, 17-
Equator High at ~21:40 High at ~23:10 Not visible High at ~20:10 High at ~19:50 1-12, 17-
30o S Fairly high in the northern sky at ~21:40 Fairly high in the northern sky in moonlight at ~21:40 Not visible Fairly high in the northern sky at ~20:40 Fairly high in the northern sky at ~20:30 1-12, 16-

C/2020 T2 (Palomar): A solar conjunction comet visible in very large telescopes
This comet begins the month in Sagittarius at magnitude 13.3. Look for a 0" coma. It should fade slowly, moving into Microscopium by month's end.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  
40o N Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  
Equator Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  
30o S Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  

C/2020 J1 (SONEAR): A morning comet visible in very large telescopes
This comet begins the month in Virgo at magnitude 14.3. Look for a 2.5' coma. It should remain constant, moving into Bootes by month's end.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N Fairly high at ~06:10 Fairly high during morning twilight at ~06:10 High during morning twilight at ~06:20 High during morning twilight at ~06:00 High at ~05:50 1-
40o N High at ~05:40 High at ~05:40 High during morning twilight at ~05:50 High during morning twilight at ~05:40 High at ~05:40 1-
Equator High at ~04:40 High at ~04:50 High at ~04:50 High in moonlight at ~04:50 High at ~04:50 1-
30o S Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~03:40 Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~03:40 Fairly high during morning twilight at ~03:40 Fairly high during morning twilight at ~03:50 High at ~04:00 1-

8P/Tuttle: A southern hemisphere morning comet visible in very large telescopes
This comet begins the month in Norma at magnitude 14.3. Look for a 2.5' coma. It should fade by about 1.3 magnitudes, moving into Ara by month's end. The best visibility is early in the month as seen from the southern hemisphere.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  
40o N Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  
Equator Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  
30o S Fairly high in the southern sky at ~03:30 Fairly high in the southern sky at ~03:30 Fairly high in the southern sky at ~03:40 Not visible Not visible 1-12, 14-15

C/2020 V2 (ZTF): A morning comet visible in very large telescopes
This comet begins the month in Canes Venatici at magnitude 15.0. Look for a 50" coma. It should brighten slowly.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N High at ~06:10 High at ~05:50 High during morning twilight at ~06:20 Fairly high in the eastern sky at ~22:00 High at ~04:20 1-17, 20-
40o N High at ~05:30 High at ~05:40 High during morning twilight at ~06:00 Fairly high in the eastern sky at ~22:20 High at ~04:20 1-17, 21-
Equator High at ~04:40 High at ~04:40 High during morning twilight at ~04:50 High in moonlight at ~04:50 High at ~04:20 1-17, 21-
30o S Not visible Not visible Low in the northern sky during morning twilight at ~03:50 Not visible Not visible 13-13, 15-15, 24-24

9P/Tempel: A morning comet visible in very large telescopes
This comet begins the month in Libra at magnitude 15.1. Look for a 30" coma. It should brighten slowly, moving into Ophiuchus by month's end.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N Low in the southern sky during morning twilight at ~06:20 Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible 1-7
40o N Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~05:50 Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~05:50 Fairly high in the southern sky during morning twilight at ~05:50 Low in the southern sky during morning twilight at ~05:50 Low in the southern sky during morning twilight at ~05:40 1-
Equator Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~04:50 Fairly high in the eastern sky at ~04:50 Fairly high at ~04:50 Fairly high during morning twilight at ~05:00 Fairly high at ~05:00 1-
30o S Low in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~03:40 Low in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~03:40 Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~03:50 Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~04:00 Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~04:00 1-

116P/Wild: A morning comet visible in very large telescopes
This comet begins the month in Leo at magnitude 15.7. Look for a 45" coma. It should brighten by about 0.8 magnitudes by month's end.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N High at ~03:20 High at ~03:00 Fairly high during morning twilight at ~06:20 Fairly high at ~22:00 High at ~01:30 1-15, 21-
40o N High at ~03:20 High at ~03:00 Fairly high during morning twilight at ~06:00 Fairly high at ~22:00 High at ~01:30 1-15, 21-
Equator High at ~03:20 High at ~03:00 High at ~04:40 Fairly high at ~22:10 High at ~01:30 1-15, 21-
30o S High at ~03:10 High at ~03:00 High at ~03:30 Fairly high in the eastern sky at ~22:30 High at ~01:20 1-16, 22-

117P/Helin-Roman-Alu: A southern hemisphere morning comet visible in very large telescopes
This comet begins the month in Ophiuchus at magnitude 15.3. Look for a 45" coma. It should brighten slowly.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  
40o N Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  
Equator Not visible Not visible Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~04:50 Not visible Fairly high in the eastern sky at ~05:00 10-15, 24-
30o S Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~04:00 24-

132P/Helin-Roman-Alu: An evening comet visible in very large telescopes
This comet begins the month in Pisces at magnitude 15.1. Look for a 1' coma. It should fade by about 0.9 magnitudes, moving into Cetus by month's end.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N Fairly high at ~18:50 Fairly high in moonlight at ~19:00 Not visible High at ~18:40 High at ~18:50 1-8, 19-
40o N High at ~19:00 High in moonlight at ~18:50 Not visible High at ~18:50 High at ~19:00 1-8, 19-
Equator High at ~19:30 Fairly high in moonlight at ~22:00 Not visible High at ~19:30 High at ~19:30 1-8, 19-
30o S High at ~20:40 High in moonlight at ~20:50 Not visible Fairly high at ~20:40 Fairly high at ~20:30 1-8, 19-30

C/2019 U5 (PANSTARRS): A northern hemisphere morning comet visible in very large telescopes
This comet begins the month in Hercules at magnitude 15.5. Look for a 45" coma. It should brighten slowly.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N High at ~06:00 High at ~06:00 High during morning twilight at ~06:20 High during morning twilight at ~06:00 High at ~05:40 1-15, 21-
40o N Fairly high at ~05:40 High at ~05:40 High during morning twilight at ~05:50 High in moonlight at ~05:40 High at ~05:30 1-15, 21-
Equator Not visible Low in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~04:50 Fairly high in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~04:50 Not visible Fairly high at ~05:00 8-15, 23-
30o S Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  

110P/Hartley: A morning comet visible in very large telescopes
This comet begins the month in Cancer at magnitude 15.4. Look for a 1' coma. It should fade slowly.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N High at ~01:50 High at ~01:10 Not visible High at ~21:50 High at ~23:30 1-13, 21-
40o N High at ~01:50 High at ~01:10 Not visible High at ~22:00 High at ~23:30 1-14, 20-
Equator High at ~01:50 High at ~01:10 Fairly high at ~04:30 High at ~22:10 High at ~23:30 1-15, 20-
30o S High at ~01:50 High at ~01:10 Fairly high at ~03:20 Fairly high at ~22:20 High at ~23:30 1-15, 20-

C/2020 PV6 (PANSTARRS): A northern hemisphere morning comet visible in very large telescopes
This comet begins the month in Hercules at magnitude 15.5. Look for a 1.5' coma. It should remain constant, moving into Corona Borealis by month's end.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N Fairly high at ~06:00 High at ~06:00 Not visible Not visible High at ~05:40 1-14, 25-
40o N Fairly high at ~05:40 High at ~05:40 High during morning twilight at ~05:50 Not visible High at ~05:30 1-15, 25-
Equator Not visible Not visible Fairly high at ~04:50 Not visible High at ~04:50 13-15, 26-
30o S Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  

C/2019 F1 (ATLAS-Africano): A southern hemisphere evening comet visible in very large telescopes
This comet begins the month in Grus at magnitude 15.6. Look for a 25" coma. It should fade slowly, moving into Phoenix by month's end. The best visibility is early in the month as seen from the southern hemisphere.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility January 1 Visibility January 8 Visibility January 15 Visibility January 22 Visibility January 29 Nights Visible
55o N Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  
40o N Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  
Equator Fairly high in the southern sky at ~19:20 Fairly high in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~19:20 Not visible Fairly high in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~19:30 Low in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~19:30 1-14, 18-
30o S Fairly high at ~20:40 Fairly high in moonlight at ~20:40 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~20:30 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~20:30 Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~20:30 1-

Summary Data for This Month's Telescopic Comets


Comets brighter than 16th magnitude.  This table is updated as necessary. The last column indicates the date of the last observation used to compute these values.  The constellation listed is where the comet was on the first of the month.
Comet Constellation

January 1st

January 15th

January 31st

Observations as of (UT)
Mag Diam Mag Diam Mag Diam
C/2021 A1 (Leonard) Pisces Austrinus 5.2 6.2' 6.6 3.9' 8.3 3.0' 2021 December 30
C/2019 L3 (ATLAS) Gemini 9.4 4.3' 9.4 4.3' 9.5 4.2' 2021 December 29
19P/Borrelly Cetus 9.5 3.4' 9.2 3.3' 9.2 3.2' 2021 December 30
67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Cancer 9.8 5.3' 10.5 4.7' 11.3 4.0' 2021 December 29
6P/d'Arrest Aquarius 10.8 4.4' 11.0 3.9' 11.3 3.5' 2021 December 30
29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann Taurus 11.4 6.0' 11.5 5.9' 11.6 5.6' 2021 December 28
104P/Kowal Pisces 11.7 3.6' 11.5 3.8' 11.6 3.8' 2021 December 29
4P/Faye Monoceros 11.8 2.2' 12.2 2.0' 12.7 1.8' 2021 December 26
C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) Ophiuchus 12.1 2.1' 11.9 2.2' 11.6 2.3' 2021 December 10
22P/Kopff Ophiuchus 12.3? 51"? 11.9? 54"? 11.5? 56"? 2021 June 29
57P/du Toit-Neujmin-Delporte Capricornus 12.4 1.2' 12.7 1.1' 13.0 1.0' 2021 December 21
C/2019 T4 (ATLAS) Hydra 12.9 1.5' 12.8 1.6' 12.6 1.7' 2021 December 18
C/2020 T2 (Palomar) Sagittarius 13.3 2.5' 13.5 2.4' 13.7 2.3' 2021 November 22
C/2020 J1 (SONEAR) Virgo 14.3 2.4' 14.3 2.5' 14.3 2.6' 2021 December 13
8P/Tuttle Norma 14.3 2.5' 15.0 2.5' 15.6 2.4' 2021 December 8
C/2020 Y2 (ATLAS) Centaurus 14.8 27" 14.6 29" 14.4 31" 2021 December 14
C/2021 E3 (ZTF) Aquila 14.9 38" 14.7 39" 14.3 41" 2021 November 28
C/2020 V2 (ZTF) Canes Venatici 15.0 47" 14.8 49" 14.6 52" 2021 December 13
132P/Helin-Roman-Alu Pisces 15.1 1.3' 15.5 1.1' 16.0 59" 2021 December 28
9P/Tempel Libra 15.1 29" 15.0 30" 14.8 32" 2021 November 14
117P/Helin-Roman-Alu Ophiuchus 15.3 44" 15.2 45" 15.1 47" 2021 October 4
110P/Hartley Cancer 15.4 1.0' 15.5 1.1' 15.6 1.1' 2021 December 12
C/2019 U5 (PANSTARRS) Hercules 15.5 41" 15.4 43" 15.2 45" 2021 November 6
C/2020 PV6 (PANSTARRS) Hercules 15.5 1.2' 15.6 1.2' 15.5 1.3' 2021 October 27
C/2019 F1 (ATLAS-Africano) Grus 15.6 23" 15.7 22" 15.8 22" 2021 October 31
108P/Ciffreo Auriga 15.7 1.6' 16.3 1.5' 17.0 1.3' 2021 December 25
116P/Wild Leo 15.7 40" 15.3 44" 14.9 47" 2021 December 15
C/2020 M5 (ATLAS) Coma Berenices 15.8 1.1' 15.7 1.1' 15.7 1.2' 2021 December 13
C/2020 R7 (ATLAS) Tucana 15.8 57" 15.7 56" 15.6 57" 2021 December 5
C/2020 F5 (MASTER) Aquarius 15.8 54" 16.0 52" 16.1 50" 2021 December 6
246P/NEAT Microscopium 16.0 20" 16.1 20" 16.2 19" 2021 October 25
C/2018 U1 (Lemmon) Ophiuchus 16.0 36" 16.0 37" 16.0 38" 2021 October 8
C/2020 K1 (PANSTARRS) Hercules 16.2 43" 16.0 44" 15.9 45" 2021 November 6
C/2021 O3 (PANSTARRS) Pegasus 16.7 22" 16.2 22" 15.6 23" 2021 December 21
*In solar conjunction and generally not visible

For information about specific comets see Gary W. Kronk's Cometography 

Further reading: see Comet Chasing, Sky & Telescope, April 2005, pg. 83.

Make your own visual observing custom charts for your location and telescope/binoculars: software for visual comet observing 

Select comets that are appropriate for your imaging system, and plan when they are best imaged: software for comet imaging 
 

Links

Skyhound's Guide to Comets
Skyhound's Guide to Finding Comets
BAA Comet Section
Weekly Information About Bright Comets
Cometography