At the beginning of this week, two comets will cross “next” to Earth. The uniqueness of the event lies primarily in the small distance between the two celestial bodies. Scientists do not know whether this is a very unlikely event or a common origin.
Coming off of the comets, the P / 2016 BA14 will land just 3.5 million kilometers away, which will be the comet’s closest transition since 1983, and the third closest transition in the history of measurement. Of course, this “mere” on the cosmic scale does not pose any risk to our planet, but at the same time it is an excellent research opportunity for scientists.
For the rest of the Earth, the second comet is as easily caught in the ear as the 252P / LINEAR, which will pass the Earth at a distance of 5.2 million kilometers (the fifth closest passage in the history of research). This object, which astronomers have been tracking since 2000, is larger and shinier than ever before, and is expected to be visible to the naked eye at the moment of its closest proximity.
P / 2016 BA14, observed for the first time in January and of great interest due to its short distance from the Earth, will not be visible to the naked eye.