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Borrego Springs - Twin Comets

 

Last updated 3/20/2016 at 5:41pm

On March 2, 2016, P/2016 was only a 16th-magnitude blip, but it's expected to brighten rapidly in the coming nights. Meanwhile, its compadre comet, 252P/LINEAR, has grown an expansive coma and can be seen in binoculars from southern latitudes. José J. Chambó

Stargazers will be treated to a double delight this week with telescopes at the ready to watch as two comets brush past Earth.

Comet 252P/LINEAR will flyby just 5.3 million kilometres from Earth, or around 14 times the distance to the Moon, however hot on its heels will be Comet P/2016 BA14. Going by the catchier name of Comet Panstarrs, it is due to make an historic flyby of Earth Tuesday, March 22. The comet will come within about nine lunar distances, (2.1 million miles or 3.4 million kilometers) where it will claim the distinction of becoming the second closest comet ever recorded.

It can be seen with either a small telescope or large binoculars near Ursa Major (BigDipper), from Monday through Thursday. The reflected light from a full or nearly full moon will make it a little more difficult to see.

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