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Dying comet is celestial spectacle

A comet that has broken up catastrophically will swing close by Earth on Thursday, making the nearest approach by any comet within the past two decades, websites reported on Wednesday.

india Updated: May 18, 2006 12:03 IST
AFP

A comet that has broken up catastrophically will swing close by Earth on Thursday, making the nearest approach by any comet within the past two decades, websites reported on Wednesday.

Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 — also known as Comet 73P — will pass within a mere 10 million kilometres of Earth in a string of dozens of pieces.

Observers should be able to see two of the brighest chunks using a small telescope or even binoculars if they look near the constellation of Cygnus, said New Scientist (www.newscientist.com).

The US publication Sky & Telecoscope (skyandtelescope.com), predicted a meteor shower on May 22 or May 23 as Earth travels through dusty debris trailed by the disintegrating comet.