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.

Updated: Mar 21, 2016, 18:08 PM IST
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)