Green Comet Will Pass Near Earth—With a Twin
A rare double comet is buzzing by; here’s how to see it for yourself.
A rapidly brightening green comet is making a historically close encounter with Earth on Monday, March 21. And following right behind it like a tagalong sibling is a second, smaller comet.
The green comet, named 252P/LINEAR, is passing within 3.2 million miles (5.2 million kilometers) of Earth—about 14 times farther than the moon. While this may not sound very close, it’s actually the fifth closest comet on record. And its trailing partner will come even closer, making it the third closest in recorded history.
The larger of these visitors from the outer fringes of the solar system, estimated to be about 750 feet (230 meters) in size, was discovered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR)