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Unfortunately, we haven't had a very bright comet for some time now, but there are a number of short-period comets that regularly approach the inner Solar System, and a few of them can even be spotted with binoculars. One of the more interesting is 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak. It has an orbital period of 5.4 years and is currently heading back towards perihelion, which it reaches on April 12th. Over the coming months, this comet will be superbly placed in the evening sky for northern-based observers and bright enough to be seen with binoculars. It may even reach naked eye visibility.

Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak (credit:- Michael Jäger)

At the beginning of March, comet 41P was located in Leo. From northern locations, it shone at 8th magnitude and appeared high in the early evening sky. The comet continues to brighten and is expected to peak at about mag. +6.1, around the time of perihelion. However, early brightness measurements are encouraging and it's possible it could even reach naked visibility.

Before that, comet 41P continues to move on a north-easterly trajectory, passing into Ursa Major on March 12th and then into Draco on March 29th. Here it remains until April 20th, before then moving south through Hercules and Lyra. Throughout this period, it stays high in the sky from northern and tropical locations, although the Moon somewhat interfere's during the second week of March and April. From Southern Hemispere locations, 41P is not well paced, appearing low down above the northern horizon.

Horace Parnell Tuttle discovered the comet on May 3, 1858. It was independently re-discovered by Michel Giacobini in 1907 and by Lubor Kresak in 1951.

Positions of comet  41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak from March 5th to 9th (credit:- freestarcharts)

Positions of comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak from March 5th to 9th - pdf format (credit:- freestarcharts)

Positions of comet  41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak from March 19th to April 4th (credit:- freestarcharts)

Positions of comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak from March 19th to April 4th - pdf format (credit:- freestarcharts)

41/P-Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak Data (at epoch March 6, 2006)

DiscovererHorace Parnell Tuttle, Michel Giacobini, Lubor Kresák
Discovery dateMay 3, 1858
Perihelion (AU)1.048
Semi-major axis (AU)3.085
Orbital period (years)5.419
Inclination (degrees) 9.229
PerihelionApril 12, 2017


DateRight AscensionDeclinationMag.Distance from Earth (AU)Constellation
01-Mar-201709h 44m 19s28d 07m 33s8.20.219Leo
02-Mar-201709h 45m 38s29d 08m 04s8.10.214Leo
03-Mar-201709h 47m 04s30d 10m 31s8.00.210Leo
04-Mar-201709h 48m 39s31d 14m 54s7.90.205Leo
05-Mar-201709h 50m 24s32d 21m 14s7.80.201Leo
06-Mar-201709h 52m 19s33d 29m 29s7.70.197Leo Minor
07-Mar-201709h 54m 26s34d 39m 38s7.60.192Leo Minor
08-Mar-201709h 56m 45s35d 51m 40s7.50.189Leo Minor
09-Mar-201709h 59m 17s37d 05m 32s7.40.185Leo Minor
10-Mar-201710h 02m 05s38d 21m 10s7.40.181Leo Minor
11-Mar-201710h 05m 09s39d 38m 31s7.30.178Leo Minor
12-Mar-201710h 08m 31s40d 57m 27s7.20.174Leo Minor
13-Mar-201710h 12m 13s42d 17m 53s7.10.171Ursa Major
14-Mar-201710h 16m 16s43d 39m 38s7.00.168Ursa Major
15-Mar-201710h 20m 43s45d 02m 31s6.90.166Ursa Major
16-Mar-201710h 25m 37s46d 26m 21s6.90.163Ursa Major
17-Mar-201710h 30m 59s47d 50m 50s6.80.160Ursa Major
18-Mar-201710h 36m 53s49d 15m 42s6.70.158Ursa Major
19-Mar-201710h 43m 23s50d 40m 34s6.70.156Ursa Major
20-Mar-201710h 50m 31s52d 05m 03s6.60.154Ursa Major
21-Mar-201710h 58m 22s53d 28m 40s6.50.152Ursa Major
22-Mar-201711h 06m 60s54d 50m 53s6.50.150Ursa Major
23-Mar-201711h 16m 28s56d 11m 06s6.40.149Ursa Major
24-Mar-201711h 26m 51s57d 28m 38s6.40.147Ursa Major
25-Mar-201711h 38m 12s58d 42m 47s6.30.146Ursa Major
26-Mar-201711h 50m 36s59d 52m 42s6.30.145Ursa Major
27-Mar-201712h 04m 03s60d 57m 32s6.20.144Ursa Major
28-Mar-201712h 18m 36s61d 56m 23s6.20.143Ursa Major
29-Mar-201712h 34m 11s62d 48m 22s6.20.143Ursa Major
30-Mar-201712h 50m 45s63d 32m 37s6.10.142Draco
31-Mar-201713h 08m 11s64d 08m 21s6.10.142Draco
01-Apr-201713h 26m 18s64d 34m 54s6.10.142Draco
02-Apr-201713h 44m 52s64d 51m 51s6.10.142Draco
03-Apr-201714h 03m 39s64d 58m 58s6.10.142Draco
04-Apr-201714h 22m 21s64d 56m 18s6.10.143Draco
05-Apr-201714h 40m 42s64d 44m 08s6.10.143Draco
06-Apr-201714h 58m 29s64d 23m 01s6.10.144Draco
07-Apr-201715h 15m 30s63d 53m 38s6.10.145Draco
08-Apr-201715h 31m 35s63d 16m 50s6.10.146Draco
09-Apr-201715h 46m 41s62d 33m 31s6.10.147Draco
10-Apr-201716h 00m 43s61d 44m 36s6.10.148Draco
11-Apr-201716h 13m 43s60d 50m 58s6.10.149Draco
12-Apr-201716h 25m 42s59d 53m 29s6.10.150Draco
13-Apr-201716h 36m 41s58d 52m 53s6.10.152Draco
14-Apr-201716h 46m 46s57d 49m 52s6.20.154Draco
15-Apr-201716h 56m 00s56d 45m 02s6.20.155Draco
16-Apr-201717h 04m 27s55d 38m 55s6.20.157Draco
17-Apr-201717h 12m 11s54d 31m 57s6.20.159Draco
18-Apr-201717h 19m 15s53d 24m 31s6.30.161Draco
19-Apr-201717h 25m 44s52d 16m 56s6.30.163Draco
20-Apr-201717h 31m 40s51d 09m 27s6.40.165Draco
21-Apr-201717h 37m 07s50d 02m 18s6.40.167Hercules
22-Apr-201717h 42m 07s48d 55m 39s6.40.170Hercules
23-Apr-201717h 46m 42s47d 49m 38s6.50.172Hercules
24-Apr-201717h 50m 55s46d 44m 20s6.50.174Hercules
25-Apr-201717h 54m 48s45d 39m 52s6.60.177Hercules
26-Apr-201717h 58m 22s44d 36m 17s6.60.179Hercules
27-Apr-201718h 01m 39s43d 33m 36s6.70.182Hercules
28-Apr-201718h 04m 40s42d 31m 51s6.70.184Hercules
29-Apr-201718h 07m 27s41d 31m 03s6.80.187Hercules
30-Apr-201718h 10m 01s40d 31m 13s6.80.189Hercules
01-May-201718h 12m 23s39d 32m 19s6.90.192Hercules
02-May-201718h 14m 33s38d 34m 22s7.00.195Hercules
03-May-201718h 16m 32s37d 37m 21s7.00.198Lyra
04-May-201718h 18m 22s36d 41m 15s7.10.200Lyra
05-May-201718h 20m 03s35d 46m 02s7.20.203Lyra
06-May-201718h 21m 35s34d 51m 41s7.20.206Lyra
07-May-201718h 22m 59s33d 58m 11s7.30.209Lyra
08-May-201718h 24m 16s33d 05m 29s7.30.212Lyra
09-May-201718h 25m 25s32d 13m 34s7.40.215Lyra
10-May-201718h 26m 27s31d 22m 24s7.50.218Lyra
11-May-201718h 27m 24s30d 31m 58s7.50.221Lyra
12-May-201718h 28m 14s29d 42m 12s7.60.224Lyra
13-May-201718h 28m 58s28d 53m 06s7.70.227Lyra
14-May-201718h 29m 37s28d 04m 37s7.80.230Lyra
15-May-201718h 30m 10s27d 16m 44s7.80.233Lyra
16-May-201718h 30m 39s26d 29m 24s7.90.236Lyra
17-May-201718h 31m 02s25d 42m 35s8.00.239Hercules
18-May-201718h 31m 21s24d 56m 17s8.10.242Hercules
19-May-201718h 31m 36s24d 10m 27s8.10.246Hercules
20-May-201718h 31m 46s23d 25m 03s8.20.249Hercules
21-May-201718h 31m 52s22d 40m 04s8.30.252Hercules
22-May-201718h 31m 55s21d 55m 29s8.40.256Hercules
23-May-201718h 31m 54s21d 11m 15s8.40.259Hercules
24-May-201718h 31m 49s20d 27m 23s8.50.263Hercules
25-May-201718h 31m 41s19d 43m 51s8.60.266Hercules
26-May-201718h 31m 30s19d 00m 37s8.70.270Hercules
27-May-201718h 31m 16s18d 17m 42s8.70.274Hercules
28-May-201718h 30m 60s17d 35m 04s8.80.277Hercules
29-May-201718h 30m 41s16d 52m 44s8.90.281Hercules
30-May-201718h 30m 19s16d 10m 41s9.00.285Hercules
31-May-201718h 29m 56s15d 28m 55s9.10.289Hercules
01-Jun-201718h 29m 31s14d 47m 26s9.20.293Hercules
02-Jun-201718h 29m 03s14d 06m 14s9.20.297Hercules
03-Jun-201718h 28m 35s13d 25m 21s9.30.301Hercules
04-Jun-201718h 28m 04s12d 44m 45s9.40.306Hercules
05-Jun-201718h 27m 33s12d 04m 27s9.50.310Ophiuchus
06-Jun-201718h 26m 60s11d 24m 28s9.60.315Ophiuchus
07-Jun-201718h 26m 26s10d 44m 48s9.70.319Ophiuchus
08-Jun-201718h 25m 51s10d 05m 29s9.80.324Ophiuchus
09-Jun-201718h 25m 16s09d 26m 29s9.80.329Ophiuchus
10-Jun-201718h 24m 39s08d 47m 51s9.90.334Ophiuchus
11-Jun-201718h 24m 02s08d 09m 34s10.00.339Ophiuchus
12-Jun-201718h 23m 25s07d 31m 39s10.10.344Ophiuchus
13-Jun-201718h 22m 48s06d 54m 07s10.20.350Ophiuchus
14-Jun-201718h 22m 10s06d 16m 58s10.30.355Serpens
15-Jun-201718h 21m 32s05d 40m 13s10.40.361Serpens
16-Jun-201718h 20m 54s05d 03m 53s10.50.366Ophiuchus
17-Jun-201718h 20m 17s04d 27m 58s10.50.372Ophiuchus
18-Jun-201718h 19m 39s03d 52m 29s10.60.378Ophiuchus
19-Jun-201718h 19m 02s03d 17m 26s10.70.384Ophiuchus
20-Jun-201718h 18m 26s02d 42m 50s10.80.391Ophiuchus
21-Jun-201718h 17m 50s02d 08m 41s10.90.397Ophiuchus
22-Jun-201718h 17m 15s01d 35m 00s11.00.404Ophiuchus
23-Jun-201718h 16m 40s01d 01m 48s11.10.411Ophiuchus
24-Jun-201718h 16m 07s00d 29m 04s11.20.417Ophiuchus
25-Jun-201718h 15m 34s-00d 03m 10s11.30.425Serpens
26-Jun-201718h 15m 02s-00d 34m 55s11.40.432Serpens
27-Jun-201718h 14m 32s-01d 06m 09s11.50.439Serpens
28-Jun-201718h 14m 03s-01d 36m 53s11.50.447Serpens
29-Jun-201718h 13m 35s-02d 07m 05s11.60.455Serpens
30-Jun-201718h 13m 09s-02d 36m 47s11.70.462Serpens