The April Fools' Day Comet Is Coming… But No Need To Worry
- Author: Joey Payne Apr 02, 2017,
Apr 02, 2017, 0:20
The comet orbits the sun roughly every 5.5 years and this year it will come as close to Earth as it ever has. In 1951, with its third "discovery", astronomers finally realized the three comets of 1858, 1907 and 1951 were all the same.
"But because the orbit of the comet almost parallels the orbit of Earth at this point, there will be a six-day period - from March 29 through April 3 - when Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák will be very near to its closest point to Earth". Of course, that doesn't mean Comet 41P will do the same this time around, but one never knows'.
Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini- Kresák will pass Earth at 8:51 pm EDT on April 1, making history as the comet that comes closest to Earth to date.
There's a comet headed towards Earth for April Fools' Day, but there's nothing to worry about.
The comet's official name was given in honor of the three astronomers who discovered it, but due to it's unusual timing this year, it's been dubbed the April Fools' Day Comet. Weather permitting, the comet should be a good target for skywatchers with binoculars or a telescope.
Those hoping to catch the comet should aim their telescopes at Ursa Major and the Draco Constellation. The comet actually became 10,000 times brighter for a day or two, even becoming bright enough to be seen by the naked eye - albeit faintly.
So if you're in the northern hemisphere with dark, clear skies, you may be able get a glorious peek at the comet around 9 p.m. ET, but have a telescope or a set of binoculars handy.
Astronomers and space fans have already been tracking the comet's progress.
We have been treated to a heart-pounding celestial event recently when an asteroid flew really close to Earth in January, as well as several unbelievable astronomical sights in February.
"This is the comet's closest approach to Earth in more than 50 years and perhaps more than a century", NASA said.
"These are comets that have been captured by the gravity of Jupiter, forcing them in an orbit that takes them between the sun and the gas giant".