Comet Leonard reaching naked eye brightness

Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard passing NGC 4395
Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard passing spiral galaxy NGC 4395 on 17 November. Image by Rolando Ligustri, New Mexico, USA

Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) is set to produce a great show during the build up to Christmas as it now shines at visual magnitude 7 at the time or writing. Predicted to get brighter, this places the comet just outside the realm of naked eye brightness.

When is the best time to view Comet Leonard ?

In the UK (and most northern hemisphere locations), comet Leonard is best viewed in the early hours of the morning before dawn twilight washes out the comet’s detail. It can be viewed right now up until around 12 December when our new visitor is lost in twilight.

During the latter part of December but will not be well placed for observation from the northern hemisphere thereon. On 03 January, 2022, C/2021 A1 passes perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) at which time it should theoretically reach peak brightness.

Imaged above passing spiral galaxy NGC 4395, this comet has being hanging around in an area of sky littered with deep sky objects. This has given astro-photographers the opportunity to take some interesting images. On the night of 02-03 December, comet Leonard will pass through the globular cluster M3 in the constellation of Canes Venatici.

Comet Leonard passing the M3 Globular Cluster

More details about how comet Leonard was discovered, it’s predicted peak brightness and finder charts on our main Comet Leonard page.