Comet 252P/Linear Double Flyby

After Comet 252P Linear’s Closest approach to Earth on Monday, its much fainter companion is making an even closer encounter with Earth on Tuesday 22nd. Discovered much more recently than its bigger brother, 2016 BA14 will flyby at a distance of just 9 lunar distances, or 2.1 million miles. This makes it the second closest approach of any comet in history (the last being this close was way back in 1770).

According to astronomers Michael Kelley and Matthew Knight, who observed the comets with Lowell Observatory’s Discovery Channel Telescope, the fact that both comets have near identical orbits and orbit the Earth over the course of similar periods of time, means the comets are likely to have originated from a similar place — or that the smaller comet is actually a piece of the larger.

Animated Gif of 2016 BA14

Animated Gif of 252P/Linear

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