46P/Wirtanen Comet


46P/Wirtanen Comet was discovered at 17th January 1948 by Carl A. Wirtenan. This is a short period comet, which completes orbit in just over 5 years. in 2018 46P/Wirtanen Comet will be closest to Earth at 16th December at just 11 552 000 km away (0.078 AU). Comet will be tracking through Eridanus, Taurus and Auriga before getting to faint. At closest approach to Earth this comet should become naked-eye object in the sky with expected apparent magnitude of up-to +3.


  • High enough over horizon: 1st December
  • Highest over horizon: after dark to midnight
  • Closest to Earth: 16 December 2018
    • Between Pleiades & Hyades clusters in Taurus
    • Distance at closest: 7 220 000 miles (0.078 AU)
    • Expected apparent magnitude: +3


Images below are to give some notion how 46P/Wirtanen will cross our sky (Latitude 51°N). Last is video from Comet Watch youtube channel illustrating comets orbit around Sun and approach point to Earth at 16th December 2018, second half of this video contains view of comets way through constellations in night sky.





Reference list:

The Sky live – 46P/Wirtanen Comet

Wikipedia – 46P/Wirtanen Comet

Earth Sky – Best Comet of 2018

youtube – Comet Watch