Comet C/2017 K2

 

Object Type: Comet
Scope: AP 5" Refractor

Exposures 120 minutes

C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) is an Oort cloud comet with an inbound hyperbolic orbit, discovered in May 2017. Astronomers had never seen an active inbound comet this far out, where sunlight is 1/225th its brightness as seen from Earth.

The comet was within 5 AU (750 million km) of Earth by 11 January 2022. Around 6 July 2022, the comet crossed the celestial equator, and then on 14 July 2022, it passed 1.8 AU (270 million km) from Earth and shone around 9.0 magnitude making it a decent binoculars object.

JPL Horizons models that C/2017 K2 took millions of years to come from the Oort cloud at a distance of roughly 50,000 AU (0.8 ly).The outbound orbital period will be around 18000 years.

Comet K2 Small.jpg