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Twin comets to pass by the Earth this week

Astronomers round the globe see this as an opportunity to learn more about working of the comets.


Twin comets to pass by the Earth this week

Zee Media Bureau

This week will witness one of the rarest of the rare astronomical event. Two Jupiter-family-comet 252P/LINEAR and P/2016 BA14 (PANSTARRS) sharing same orbit are going to pass through the earth at a very close distance.

Astronomers round the globe see this as an opportunity to learn more about working of the comets.

Comet 252P/LINEAR, approximately 750 feet in size, will zip past Earth on Monday at a range of about 5.2 million kms. On Tuesday, comet P/2016 BA14 will safely fly by our planet at a distance of about 3.5 million kms.

This will be the third closest flyby of a comet in recorded history next to comet D/1770 L1 (Lexell) in 1770 and comet C/1983 H1 (IRAS-Araki-Alcock) in 1983.

NASA reports suggests that these two comets could be interplanetary twins which means the smaller one may be a fragment that broke of the bigger one.

The time of closest approach for comet 252P/LINEAR on March 21 was around 8:14 a.m. EDT (5:44 PM India time). 

The time of closest approach for P/2016 BA14 on March 22 will be around 10:30 a.m. EDT (8 P.M. India time).  

(With IANS inputs)

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