Orbit diagram for C/2017 M3 from near the ecliptic plane

Orbit diagram for C/2017 M3 from above the ecliptic

Orbit diagram for C/2017 M3 from another angle

The diagrams above illustrate the comet's approximate orbit for the epoch of the comet's orbit (which is generally close to the time of perihelion). Yellow/blue colors indicate where the comet's orbital plane is above/below the plane of the ecliptic, respectively. The solid colored arcs show the orbits of the planets Mercury through Neptune. The grey line shows the line of apsides connecting the perihelion and aphelion points along the major axis of the comet's orbit.

The top diagram shows the comet and the major planets more from the side, not far above the plane of the ecliptic; the second diagram shows the view of the orbits closer to 90 degrees from the ecliptic (i.e., looking down onto the ecliptic from a nearly perpendicular view high above the plane of the ecliptic). The white dots indicate the approximate positions of the comet and planets (not to scale) for 2017 Oct. 10 and are presented for illustrative purposes only.