Credit: NASA

Sun Zaps Potentially Bright Comet

What might have turned into a bright comet in the evening sky instead crashed into the sun. Before it passed, the comet shone at around magnitude -0.5 —  brighter than Vega or Arcturus. Astronomers identified the spectacular, one-time visitor as a piece of a long-ago, much larger comet that also passed very near the sun and…
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Rosetta Comet Mission To End In Dramatic Crash Landing

Even as we scrunch closer to our laptops in anticipation of Juno’s arrival at Jupiter tomorrow, another mission will soon be concluding. After two years in close company with a dusty comet, the Rosetta mission will end in dramatic fashion with a planned crash landing on the comet’s surface on September 30. Hard to believe it’s…
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Use this map to help you track comet 252P/LINEAR through June. The position is shown for 5 a.m. local Daylight Saving Time with the comet's position marked every 3 days. Stars are labeled with their Greek letters and numbers and plotted to magnitude +7.5. Saturn and Mars' positions are for early April.  All the Greek lettered stars are bright enough to see with the naked eye. Created with Chris Marriott's SkyMap

No Foolin’, We Might Get Aurora Tonight / Comet 252P Still Bright

I’d love to write about a big aurora coming April Fools night just to kid around. Unfortunately, I can’t do that because there really is a chance for northern lights tonight. A recent coronal hole opened up and allowed a stream of particles loose in Earth’s direction that’s expected to impact tonight. Space weather experts…
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This larger-scale map goes deeper to magnitude +8 and shows the comet at 5:30 a.m local daylight time through April 1. C

More Stuff To Help You Find 252P, The Green Comet

OK, the moon’s slimming down, the sky’s getting darker by degrees. You’re hoping to see the green comet pictured in recent online photos. I know exactly how you feel because I want to see it, too! Comet 252P/LINEAR has finally climbed high enough in the southern sky before dawn for most skywatchers in the U.S. and…
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These radar images of comet P/2016 BA14 were taken on March 23, 2016, by scientists using an antenna of NASA's Deep Space Network at Goldstone, California. At the time, the comet was about 2.2 million miles (3.6 million kilometers) from Earth. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR

Radar Zings Comet BA14 During Its Close Flyby, Reveals New Details

On March 22, Comet P/2016 BA14 (Pan-STARRS) flew just 2.2 million miles (3.5 million kilometers) from Earth, making it the third closest comet ever recorded. The last time one flew this close was in 1770, when Lexell’s Comet came out of nowhere and slid by Earth at half that distance. In ordinary telescopes, even big ones, BA14 looks just…
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