Home > Comet, Ephemeris Program > 03/21/2016 – Ephemeris – Two dim comets are making close passes of the Earth

03/21/2016 – Ephemeris – Two dim comets are making close passes of the Earth

March 21, 2016

Ephemeris for Monday, March 21st.  The Sun will rise at 7:43.  It’ll be up for 12 hours and 14 minutes, setting at 7:57.   The Moon, 2 days before full, will set at 7:21 tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow Comet P/2016 BA14 (Pan-STARRS) will come it’s closest to the Earth at about 2.2 million miles (3.5 million km) or about 9 times the distance of the Moon away.  It may not be a coincidence that another small comet 252P/LINEAR 12 in nearly the same orbit will be passing the Earth today at 3.3 million miles (5.3 million km).  The Pan-STARRS comet will set a record as the third closest comet known to pass by the Earth.  Many local folks saw the previous third closest comet, IRAS-Araki-Alcok from the Rogers Observatory back in 1983, when it passed 12.2 lunar distances from the Earth.  Radio telescopes which use radar to probe both comets’ nuclei may give us a clue as to whether these two comets are chips off the same block so to speak.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

252p?LINEAR

252P/LINEAR was expected to reach 8th magnitude, but has recently brightened to 5th magnitude, visible in binoculars. It’s currently too far south to be seen. On March 25th it will rises above our horizon as it passes the tail of Scorpius, heading north. Credit: Jean-Francois Soulier via Seiichi Yoshida’s web site.

 P/2016 BA14 ( PanSTARRS )

P/2016 BA14 ( PanSTARRS ) was discovered two moths ago it is too faint to be seen in all but the largest amateur telescopes. It’s currently passing the head of the constellation Hydra toward the head of Leo. This is a negative image.  The dot is the comet. Credit: Jean-Francois Soulier via Seiichi Yoshida’s web site.

Seiichi Yoshida’s Weekly Information about Bright Comets link.

 

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