Comet Chasing in June


Comet chasing is the visual observation of telescopic comets.

News


Comet Visibility in the Eyepiece

This page uses code developed for SkyTools 3 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.

Comet Synopses for June


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

C/2013 X1 (PANSTARRS): A morning comet visible in binoculars
This comet begins the month in Aquarius at magnitude 6.7. Look for a 11.5' coma. It should brighten slowly, moving into Ara by month's end. The best visibility is mid-month as seen from the southern hemisphere.  FINDER CHART
Latitude Visibility June 4 Visibility June 11 Visibility June 18 Visibility June 25 Visibility July 2 Nights Visible
55o N Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible 1-6
40o N Low in the southern sky during morning twilight at ~02:50 Low in the southern sky during morning twilight at ~02:40 Very low in the southern sky during morning twilight at ~02:30 Not visible Not visible 1-
Equator High at ~04:30 High at ~04:20 Fairly high during morning twilight at ~05:00 Fairly high at ~22:30 High at ~22:00 1-
30o S High at ~05:10 High at ~04:20 High during morning twilight at ~05:40 High at ~22:20 High at ~22:00 1-

81P/Wild: An evening comet visible in a 6-inch (15 cm) telescope
This comet begins the month in Cancer at magnitude 10.8. Look for a 1.5' coma. It should brighten slowly, moving into Leo by month's end.  FINDER CHART
Latitude Visibility June 4 Visibility June 11 Visibility June 18 Visibility June 25 Visibility July 2 Nights Visible
55o N Very low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~22:20 Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible 1-22, 24-24
40o N Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~21:10 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~21:00 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~20:50 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~21:10 Very low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~21:00 1-
Equator Fairly high at ~19:20 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~19:10 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~19:10 Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~19:20 Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~19:20 1-
30o S Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~18:30 Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~18:20 Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~18:20 Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~18:30 Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~18:30 1-

C/2014 S2 (PANSTARRS): An evening comet visible in an 8-inch (20 cm) telescope
This comet begins the month in Ursa Major at magnitude 11.4. Look for a 3' coma. It should fade by about 0.7 magnitudes, moving into Leo by month's end.  FINDER CHART
Latitude Visibility June 4 Visibility June 11 Visibility June 18 Visibility June 25 Visibility July 2 Nights Visible
55o N Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~23:50 Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~23:40 Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~23:20 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~23:20 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~23:20 1-
40o N High at ~21:30 High during evening twilight at ~21:20 High during evening twilight at ~21:10 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~21:30 Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~21:30 1-
Equator High at ~19:20 High during evening twilight at ~19:20 High during evening twilight at ~19:10 High at ~19:30 High at ~19:30 1-
30o S Fairly high in the northern sky at ~18:40 Fairly high in the northern sky during evening twilight at ~18:30 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~18:20 Fairly high in the northern sky at ~18:40 Fairly high in the northern sky at ~18:40 1-

C/2014 W2 (PANSTARRS): An evening comet visible in a 12.5-inch (32 cm) telescope
This comet begins the month in Draco at magnitude 12.7. Look for a 2' coma. It should fade slowly.  FINDER CHART
Latitude Visibility June 4 Visibility June 11 Visibility June 18 Visibility June 25 Visibility July 2 Nights Visible
55o N High during evening twilight at ~00:00 High during morning twilight at ~00:20 High during evening twilight at ~00:00 High during evening twilight at ~00:00 High during morning twilight at ~00:00 1-
40o N High at ~23:30 High at ~00:10 High in moonlight at ~22:00 High at ~22:00 High at ~21:50 1-
Equator Fairly high in the northern sky at ~23:30 Fairly high in the northern sky at ~23:50 Fairly high in the northern sky in moonlight at ~21:50 Fairly high at ~21:10 Fairly high at ~20:40 1-
30o S Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Very low in the northern sky at ~20:40 28-

116P/Wild: An evening comet visible in a 14-inch (36 cm) telescope
This comet begins the month in Libra at magnitude 12.4. Look for a 1.5' coma. It should fade by about 0.7 magnitudes by month's end. The best visibility is early in the month as seen from the southern hemisphere.  FINDER CHART
Latitude Visibility June 4 Visibility June 11 Visibility June 18 Visibility June 25 Visibility July 2 Nights Visible
55o N Low in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~23:30 Low in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~23:20 Low in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~22:50 Very low in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~23:00 Very low in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~22:50 1-
40o N Fairly high in the southern sky at ~22:30 Fairly high in the southern sky at ~00:10 Fairly high in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~21:20 Fairly high in the southern sky at ~21:40 Fairly high in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~21:30 1-
Equator High at ~22:30 High at ~23:50 High in moonlight at ~21:20 High at ~21:00 High at ~20:30 1-
30o S High at ~22:30 High at ~23:40 High in moonlight at ~21:20 High at ~21:00 High at ~20:30 1-

9P/Tempel: An evening comet visible in an 18-inch (46 cm) telescope
This comet begins the month in Leo at magnitude 13.2. Look for a 1.5' coma. It should brighten slowly, moving into Virgo by month's end.  FINDER CHART
Latitude Visibility June 4 Visibility June 11 Visibility June 18 Visibility June 25 Visibility July 2 Nights Visible
55o N Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~23:30 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~23:20 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~23:00 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~23:00 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~22:40 1-
40o N High at ~21:30 High during evening twilight at ~21:20 High during evening twilight at ~21:00 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~21:30 Fairly high in the western sky during evening twilight at ~21:30 1-
Equator High at ~19:30 High in moonlight at ~19:20 High during evening twilight at ~19:20 High at ~19:30 High at ~19:30 1-
30o S High at ~19:00 High in moonlight at ~18:40 High in moonlight at ~18:50 High at ~18:50 High at ~18:50 1-

53P/Van Biesbroeck: A morning comet visible in an 18-inch (46 cm) telescope
This comet begins the month in Aquarius at magnitude 14.1. Look for a 40" coma. It should brighten slowly.  FINDER CHART
Latitude Visibility June 4 Visibility June 11 Visibility June 18 Visibility June 25 Visibility July 2 Nights Visible
55o N Low in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~00:50 Low in the eastern sky during morning twilight at ~00:40 Low in the southern sky during morning twilight at ~01:00 Low in the southern sky during morning twilight at ~00:40 Low in the southern sky during morning twilight at ~00:20 1-
40o N Fairly high during morning twilight at ~02:30 Fairly high during morning twilight at ~02:30 Fairly high during morning twilight at ~02:50 Low in the eastern sky at ~23:00 Fairly high at ~02:20 1-
Equator High at ~04:10 High at ~03:50 High during morning twilight at ~05:00 Fairly high in the eastern sky at ~22:30 High at ~02:30 1-
30o S High at ~04:10 High at ~03:50 High during morning twilight at ~05:40 Fairly high in the eastern sky at ~22:20 High at ~02:30 1-

C/2015 WZ (PANSTARRS): A morning comet visible in very large telescopes
This comet begins the month in Cygnus at magnitude 12.0. Look for a 5.5' coma. It should fade slowly, moving into Hercules by month's end.  FINDER CHART
Latitude Visibility June 4 Visibility June 11 Visibility June 18 Visibility June 25 Visibility July 2 Nights Visible
55o N High during morning twilight at ~00:00 High during morning twilight at ~00:20 High during morning twilight at ~00:00 High during morning twilight at ~00:00 High during morning twilight at ~00:00 1-
40o N High at ~02:20 High at ~02:10 High in moonlight at ~00:30 High at ~23:00 High at ~22:10 1-
Equator Fairly high at ~04:20 Fairly high at ~02:50 Low in the northern sky during morning twilight at ~05:00 Fairly high at ~22:30 High at ~22:00 1-
30o S Very low in the northern sky at ~04:20 Very low in the northern sky at ~02:50 Not visible Very low in the northern sky at ~22:20 Low in the northern sky at ~22:00 1-15, 20-

252P/LINEAR: A morning comet visible in very large telescopes
This comet began the month in Hercules. As the observations started to come in on June 4, it became apparent that it had faded by as much as 3 magnitudes and become very diffuse, with a 2' coma. It should continue to fade rapidly, moving into Ophiuchus by month's end.  FINDER CHART
Latitude Visibility June 4 Visibility June 11 Visibility June 18 Visibility June 25 Visibility July 2 Nights Visible
55o N High during evening twilight at ~00:00 Fairly high during morning twilight at ~00:20 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~23:50 Fairly high during evening twilight at ~23:20 Fairly high in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~00:00 1-
40o N High at ~23:50 High at ~00:10 High in moonlight at ~22:40 High at ~22:20 High at ~22:00 1-
Equator High at ~23:50 High at ~23:50 High in moonlight at ~22:50 High at ~22:20 High at ~21:50 1-
30o S High at ~23:50 High at ~23:40 High in moonlight at ~22:50 High at ~22:20 High at ~21:50 1-

C/2013 US10 (Catalina): A far-northern morning comet visible in very large telescopes
This comet begins the month in Auriga at magnitude 12.7. Look for a 1.5' coma. It should fade by about 0.6 magnitudes by month's end.  FINDER CHART

Latitude Visibility June 4 Visibility June 11 Visibility June 18 Visibility June 25 Visibility July 2 Nights Visible
55o N Low in the northern sky during evening twilight at ~23:50 Low in the northern sky during evening twilight at ~00:00 Low in the northern sky during morning twilight at ~00:10 Low in the northern sky during morning twilight at ~00:20 Low in the northern sky during morning twilight at ~00:20 1-
40o N Very low in the northern sky during evening twilight at ~21:10 Very low in the northern sky during evening twilight at ~21:00 Very low in the northern sky during morning twilight at ~03:10 Low in the northern sky during morning twilight at ~03:00 Low in the northern sky during morning twilight at ~02:50 1-
Equator Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  
30o S Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible  

77P/Longmore: An evening comet visible in very large telescopes
This comet begins the month in Corvus at magnitude 14.0. Look for a 45" coma. It should fade slowly. The best visibility is early in the month as seen from the southern hemisphere.  FINDER CHART
Latitude Visibility June 4 Visibility June 11 Visibility June 18 Visibility June 25 Visibility July 2 Nights Visible
55o N Very low in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~22:30 Not visible Not visible Not visible Not visible 1-5
40o N Fairly high in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~21:20 Fairly high in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~21:10 Fairly high in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~21:00 Low in the southern sky during evening twilight at ~21:20 Low in the western sky during evening twilight at ~21:10 1-
Equator High at ~19:40 High in moonlight at ~19:20 High during evening twilight at ~19:20 High at ~19:30 High at ~19:30 1-
30o S High at ~19:40 Fairly high in the western sky at ~23:40 High in moonlight at ~19:00 High at ~18:50 High at ~18:50 1-

Summary Data for This Month's Telescopic Comets


Comets brighter than 15th 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

June 1st

June 15th

June 30th

Observations as of (UT)
Mag Diam Mag Diam Mag Diam
C/2013 X1 (PANSTARRS) Aquarius 6.7 8.0' 6.1 11.3' 6.3 10.9' 2016 June 1
81P/Wild Cancer 10.8 1.4' 10.7 1.4' 10.7 1.4' 2016 May 24
C/2014 S2 (PANSTARRS) Ursa Major 11.4 3.0' 11.7 2.7' 12.1 2.5' 2016 May 30
C/2015 WZ (PANSTARRS) Cygnus 12.0 5.4' 12.0 6.2' 12.4 6.1' 2016 May 26
252P/LINEAR Hercules 12.4 2.1' 13.3 1.6' 14.2 1.3 2016 June 4
116P/Wild Libra 12.4 1.6' 12.8 1.5' 13.2 1.4' 2016 May 30
C/2014 W2 (PANSTARRS) Draco 12.7 2.0' 12.8 2.0' 13.0 1.9' 2016 May 26
C/2013 US10 (Catalina) Auriga 12.7 1.5' 13.1 1.4' 13.4 1.3' 2016 May 23
9P/Tempel Leo 13.2 1.8' 13.0 1.7' 12.9 1.6' 2016 May 8
104P/Kowal Gemini 13.8 29" 14.2 27" 14.7 25" 2016 May 5
77P/Longmore Corvus 14.0 43" 14.2 40" 14.5 36" 2016 May 30
53P/Van Biesbroeck Aquarius 14.1 36" 13.9 39" 13.8 41" 2016 May 8
333P/LINEAR Perseus 14.6? 35"? 14.9? 36"? 15.1? 39"? 2016 March 31
C/2015 V2 (Johnson) Lynx 14.7 18" 14.6 18" 14.4 18" 2016 May 9

*In solar conjunction and generally not visible

For the latest news and comet observations see the ICQ/CBAT/MPC: Recent Comet Magnitude Estimates page.  The Astronomical Headlines page of the IAU is also a good source of information, particularly for recent discoveries.

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

Join the Comet Chasing discussion group 

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

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

Links

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