If you either have a telescope or got one as a gift in 2023, you'll have many chances to put it to work in 2024 as there will be at least 7 comets visible over Missouri and Illinois.  Oh, and one just might be extra special later in the year.

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Starwalk has some great info on 7 comets which we know will be visible over both Missouri and Illinois at some level in 2024 and you won't have to wait long to begin seeing them.

Here they are in the order they will be over our heads:


This comet has already made its closest approach to Earth in December of 2023, but the perihelion will be January 25, 2024 and it is visible in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.


The closest approach to Earth for this big ball of ice and rock will be January 29, 2024 and it will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere.

C/2021 S3 (PanSTARRS)

This is when the comet appearances will begin to potentially be special. In Missouri and Illinois, this comet should be visible with even small binoculars by March 14, 2024 with an expected visible magnitude of over 7.


One of the brightest comets of 2024 might be visible to even the naked eye in Missouri and Illinois beginning in April. It will be visible again in June, but you'll probably need small binoculars to make it out in a dark sky.


In June and July, this icy rock will be visible over Missouri and Illinois provided you have decent binoculars, but even small ones might do if the magnitude is high enough.

C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS)

This is the big comet event for 2024 and maybe even this decade. This comet is forecast to potentially qualify as a "GREAT COMET" in September and October. This should be visible to the naked eye and astronomers believe it will be as bright as the brightest stars. Of all the sky events in 2024, keep your eyes on this one - literally.


December 9, 2024 will be the day you'll want to start looking for this comet over Missouri and Illinois, but you'll need really good binoculars to make it happen.

All things considered, 2024 is set to be one of the best years for visible comets in decades.

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