Comet C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) will reach its perihelion (the closest point on its orbit to the Sun) at 10.38 pm GMT on Monday 4 May 2020, when it will be approximately 1.62 AU from the Sun (i.e. 162% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun, slightly outside the orbit of the planet Mars). At this time the comet will be 1.70 AU from the Earth, in the constellation of Camolepardis, having a magnitude of 11.69, which will make it visible with a pair of binoculars with a 60-70mm aperture or a small telescope.
Comet C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) imaged on 26 December 2019 from Mayhill, New Mexico. Jon Greif/Sky&Telescope.
Comet C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) was discovered on 2 October 2017 by the University of Hawaii's PANSTARRS telescope. The name C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) implies that it is a comet (C/), that it was the second comet like body (comet 2) discovered in the first half of October 2017 (period 2017 T) and that it was discovered by the PANSTARRS telescope.
The path of Comet C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) across the sky from 13 February 2020. In The Sky.
C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) has an estimated orbital period of 507 575 years and a highly eccentric orbit tilted at an angle of 57.2° to the plain of the Solar System, that brings it to 1.62 AU from the Sun at perihelion (162% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun, considerably outside the orbit of Mars); to 12 724 AU from the Sun at aphelion (12 724 times as far from the Sun as the Earth or 423 times as far from the Sun as the planet Neptune, reaching the innermost part of the Oort Cloud. As such it is considered to be a Long Period Comet (comet with a period of over 200 years.
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