(031816) Explanation: Sporting a surprisingly bright, lovely green coma Comet 252P/Linear poses next to the Large Magellanic Cloud in this southern skyscape. The stack of telephoto exposures was captured on March 16 from Penwortham, South Australia. Recognized as a Jupiter family periodic comet, 252P/Linear will come close to our fair planet on March 21, passing a mere 5.3 million kilometers away. That’s about 14 times the Earth-Moon distance. In fact, it is one of two comets that will make remarkably close approaches in the next few days as a much fainter Comet Pan-STARRS (P/2016 BA14) comes within 3.5 million kilometers (9 times the Earth-Moon distance) on March 22. The two have extremely similar orbits, suggesting they may have originally been part of the same comet. Sweeping quickly across the sky because of their proximity to Earth, both comets will soon move into northern skies. Mandatory Courtesy of Justin Tilbrook/Nasa.gov
At 10:30a.m. (EDT) Tuesday morning, comet P/2016 BA14 will pass within 2.1 million miles of the earth.
The emerald green-colored comet will generally require a telescope to be seen, but may even be visible to the unaided eye in southern hemisphere suburbs where light pollution is very low.
Paul Chodas, NASA’s Center of NEO Studies (CNEOS) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, says “this will be the third closest flyby of a comet in recorded history. March 22 will be the closest comet P/2016 BA14 gets to us for at least the next 150 years.”
So, really, do you have a telescope?
Would love to see this.