Comets To Pass Earth
March 22, 2016 by staff
Comets To Pass Earth, Two comets will make an incredibly close pass to Earth this week. And while NASA’s official word is that they pose no threat to civilization (hurray!), their drop-by offers astronomers a rare chance to study the cosmic ice balls up close.
The closer (and smaller) of the two – a comet with the unsxy name BA14 – will pass 2.2 million miles from Earth on March 22.
The larger comet – with the equally unglamorous name of 252P – is reaching its closest distance today, March 21. It’s 3.3 million miles away.
Those are near-historic, relatively close distances to Earth. NASA notes BA14 will mark the third-closest flyby of a comet on record. The second closest occurred in 1982, and the closest (aside from the one that killed all the dinosaurs) passed by in 1770, the Christian Science Monitor reports.
NASA / JPL Though they will make a historically close pass, these ice balls will be many times further away than the moon. You can see that on this NASA illustration of the comets’ orbits.
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