Comet Orbit

Posted : admin On 1/29/2022

Comet and Asteroid Orbit Diagrams. The orbit of any comet or asteroid can be viewed. Start with our small-body browser to find the asteroid of interest, then select the Orbit Diagram link. For example, here is the orbit diagram for asteroid 1 Ceres. Comet Halley moves backward (opposite to Earth's motion) around the Sun in a plane tilted 18 degrees to that of the Earth's orbit. Halley's backward, or retrograde, motion is unusual among short-period comets, as is its greatest distance from the Sun (aphelion) is beyond the orbit of Neptune. Halley's orbit period is, on average, 76 Earth years.

  1. Do Comets Orbit The Sun
  2. Comet Orbiting The Sun
  3. Comet Orbit Diagram
  4. All About Comets

Information on Selected Comets

The image shown is a view of the nucleus of Comet Halley taken by the Giotto spacecraft.
Below is a table of information on selected comets, and at the bottom of the page are
comments on the comets.
OrbitalPerihelionPerihelionSemi-MajorOrbitalOrbitalAbsolute
Number and NamePeriodDateDistanceAxisEccentricityInclinationMagnitude
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1PHalley76.1 yrs.1986-02-090.587 AU17.94 AU0.967162.2 deg.5.5
2PEncke3.30 yrs.2003-12-280.340 AU2.21 AU0.84711.8 deg.9.8
6Pd'Arrest6.51 yrs.2008-08-011.346 AU3.49 AU0.61419.5 deg.8.5
9PTempel 15.51 yrs.2005-07-051.500 AU3.12 AU0.51910.5 deg.12.0
19PBorrelly6.86 yrs.2001-09-141.358 AU3.61 AU0.62430.3 deg.11.9
21PGiacobini-Zinner6.52 yrs.1998-11-210.996 AU3.52 AU0.70631.8 deg.9.0
26PGrigg-Skjellerup5.09 yrs.1992-07-220.989 AU2.96 AU0.66421.1 deg.12.5
27PCrommelin27.89 yrs.1984-09-010.743 AU9.20 AU0.91929.0 deg.12.0
45PHonda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova5.29 yrs.1995-12-250.528 AU3.02 AU0.8254.3 deg.13.5
46PWirtanen5.46 yrs.2013-10-211.063 AU3.12 AU0.65211.7 deg.9.0
55PTempel-Tuttle32.92 yrs.1998-02-280.982 AU10.33 AU0.906162.5 deg.9.0
67PChuryumov-Gerasimenko6.57 yrs.2002-08-181.292 AU3.51 AU0.6327.1 deg.
73PSchwassmann-Wachmann 35.36 yrs.2006-06-020.937 AU3.06 AU0.69411.4 deg.11.7
75PKohoutek6.24 yrs.1973-12-281.571 AU3.4 AU0.5375.4 deg.12.1
76PWest-Kohoutek-Ikemura6.46 yrs.2000-06-011.596 AU3.45 AU0.54030.5 deg.10.6
81PWild 26.39 yrs.2003-09-251.583 AU3.44 AU0.5403.2 deg.6.5
95PChiron50.7 yrs.1996-02-148.46 AU13.7 AU0.3837 deg.
107PWilson-Harrington4.29 yrs.2001-03-261.000 AU2.64 AU0.6232.8 deg.9.0
Hale-Bopp4000. yrs.1997-03-310.914 AU250. AU0.99589.4 deg.-1.0
Hyakutake~40000. yrs.1996-05-010.230 AU~1165. AU0.9998124.9 deg.
Halley - Subject of the International Halley Watch (IHW), a coordinated effort of ground-based and spacecraft observations.
Encke - Planned encounter by CONTOUR mission on 12 November 2003. Radar observations made by Arecibo Observatory in 1980 indicated a radius of 0.4 to 4.0 km.
d'Arrest - Planned encounter by CONTOUR mission on 16 August 2008.
Tempel 1 - Planned flyby and projectile impact by the Deep Impact mission on 4 July 2005.
Borrelly - Target of Deep Space 1 spacecraft in 2001.
Giacobini-Zinner - Target of ICE flyby on 11 Sep 1985 within 7800 km.Data
Grigg-Skjellerup - Target of Giotto flyby (within 200 km) on 10 July 1992.
Crommelin - Subject of 1984 test of the IHWnetwork.

Do Comets Orbit The Sun

Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova - Originally planned target of Sakigake flyby at 10,000 km on 3 Feb 1996.
Wirtanen - Originally scheduled to be visited by the ESA Rosetta mission in 2011. Mission rerouted.
Temple-Tuttle - Originally planned target of Suisei flyby on 28 Feb 1998.
Churyumov-Gerasimenko - Studied from orbit by Rosetta mission.Comet orbiter

Comet Orbiting The Sun


Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 - Planned encounter by CONTOUR mission on 18 June 2006. Split into three large pieces in 1995.
Kohoutek - Observed by Skylab astronauts in Dec 1973 and Jan 1974.
West-Kohoutek-Ikemura - Original target of New Millenium Deep Space 1 spacecraft in 2000.
Wild 2 - Target of the Discovery coma sample return mission, Stardust, in Jan 2004.
CometsWilson-Harrington - At one time a possible target of Deep Space 1 spacecraft in 2001.
Chiron - Comet/asteroid, also known as asteroid 2060 Chiron. Subject of the Chiron Perihelion Campaign
Hale-Bopp - Discovered in July 1995. Bright comet, made closest approach to Earth on 22 March 1997.
Hyakutake - Discovered in January 1996. Bright comet, passed within 0.1 AU of Earth on 25 March 1996.
Notes on the Fact Sheets
Comet Home Page
Directory to other Planetary Fact Sheets
Author/Curator:

Comet Orbit Diagram


Dr. David R. Williams, [email protected]
OrbitComet orbit sunNSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771
+1-301-286-1258

All About Comets

NASA Official: Ed Grayzeck, [email protected]
Last Updated: 04 January 2016, DRW