Closest to Sun on 2017 March 10 at 0.33AU.
Closest to Earth on 2017 March 12 at 0.65AU.
Maximum magnitude 3 in March 2017.
Orbital period: 3.3 years
Discovered by Mechain in 1786, this is
one of the shortest period comets (period of 3.3 years) and the most
observed ( 63rd apparition)
Although peaking at 3rd magnitude during perihelion, the comet was too close to the Sun for observation.
Post-perihelion, the comet made a southern hemisphere appearance in late March morning skies, fading from magnitude 6.
From 35S latitude, I first observed the comet low in the east on March 23 at 6am local daylight time, when the magnitude 7 comet was situated near Tau1 Aquarii
Visibility rapidly improved over the next weeks as the comet headed south-westwards through Aquarius.
The moon was 8 degrees to the north of comet Encke on the morning of March 26.
By March 27, the now magnitude 8 comet situated 13 degrees above the local horizon at 6am daylight time
By April 1, the comet has faded to magnitude 9 and was situated 3 degrees to the north of the Helix Nebula NGC 7293 in Aquarius.
The comet faded to magnitude 10 by the time moonlight interfered again from April 10.
Finder Charts March-April 2017