Space News: Periodic Comet to Pass Closest to the Earth Since Discovery

By Cresswell McCoy | Mar 30, 2017 12:46 PM EDT

A great chance has arrived for an opportunity to view a famous periodic comet passing closest to the earth. During the next couple of week the comet "41P Tuttle Giacombini Kresak" could be seen in small telescopes, while it makes its return passing the earth since its discovery in 1858.

The comet will take its orbit closest to the sun that lies just outside the earth's orbit, the perihelion passage is believed to take place on April 12, and the comet will be 97.1 million miles from the sun. The orbit of the comet nearly parallels with the earth's orbit and there will be a six day period from March 29 through April, when Tuttle Giacombini Kresak will be very near to its closest point to earth, as per Space.

According to the calculation the comet will be closest to earth on April fool's day, just about 13.2 million miles away. On its journey during the two week stretch it will pass across the stars of Ursa Major and Draco, this will make the comet easily visible from dusk through dawn through mid April.

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There is a small possibility that the comet could undergo an outburst into brightness, it is also not often for a comet to approach so close to earth like the Tuttle Giacombini Kresak. It was first discovered by astronomer Horace Tuttle on May 3, 1858. Astronomers have observed the comet for a month but they could not judge when it would appear again.

With over a century this might be the last chance to get a glimpse of the comet in a lifetime. In fact the comet was considered to be lost, it circles the sun almost around every 5.5 years and it got its name from three men, each coming from a different generation. This is a good chance to scan the skies for a comet with small telescopes. 

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