Comet Catalina Zooms Pass Earth For The First And Only Time

Posted: Jan 2 2016, 11:27am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News


Comet Catalina Zooms Pass Earth for the First and Only Time
Credit: NASA

Catalina will make its closest approach to Earth on January 17 and after that, it will be gone forever.

Comet Catalina passed through the Earth just hours afer the New Year was welcomed every where.

On the early morning of January 1, 2016, skywatchers had witnessed something extraordinary since comet Catalina, officially known as C/2013 US10, passed through the skies for the first time. Catalina, at a magnitude 6.2 to 6.4, was not visible with the naked eye but binoculars revealed a small patch of light in the predawn sky. 

Comet Catalina was discovered in October 31, 2013 by Catalina Sky Survey (CSS), a project that search for comets, asteroids and near Earth objects. It has two tails which are pointing in different directions. The comet has come from very deep space, likely from Oort Cloud, a cloud of tiny, icy comets, asteroids and proto-planets that is thought to surrounding our solar system and is at distance of 100,000 AU from the Sun.

Catalina will make its closest approach to Earth on January 17, a mere 110 million kilometers away and then it will return to outer space permanently.

Astronomer Phil Plait says. “If you want to see this comet, you’d better take the chance over the next month or so. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

After passing our solar system, the blue comet will travel for billions of years more and will only be stopped if it smashes into another object. 

Source: NASA

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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