Comet 21P Expected to Brighten More

Our Observing Driector, Robert Conrad, has posted several times  on this Facebook page about the bright comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. It was recently close to the famous Heart and Soul Nebula in Cassiopeia and imaged by some amateur astronomers.

Comet 21P With Heart , Soul Nebulae And Double Cluster. Taken by Roman Kulesza on August 15, 2018 @ Tiny Twp. ON , Canada

The comet will pass through the constellation Auriga during the first week of September. It will be close to Capella, the brightest star in Auriga, on Sept 1st and 2nd.

Comet 21/P Finder
Comet 21/P at midnight on Sept 21st. 2018

It is now, as of mid-August, very bright at magnitude 7.8 and is expected to brighten up to 7th magnitude through September. It should be easily visible in backyard telescopes and some binoculars, especially from dark skies outside the city and when close to the new moon on Sept 9th.

Actual and expected brightness curve for comet 21P 2018 from

21P is a periodic comet with an orbital period of about 6.6 years. It was discovered by Michael Giacobini in December 1900 at the Nice observatory. Ernst Zinner unknowingly observed its return 6.5 years later while observing variable stars.

Giacobini–Zinner was the target of the International Cometary Explorer spacecraft, which passed through its plasma tail on September 11, 1985.