Tracking the bright comet Hyakutake.
On April 3, skywatchers in the northeastern United States will have a special treat: A total eclipse of the moon will enhance the view of Hyakutake. The comet is likely to fade in early April as it moves away from Earth, but by mid-April, as it heads closer to the sun, Hyakutake should form a brilliant tail, the trademark of comets. During the third week of April, the comet may appear at its brightest, as dazzling as Jupiter, Green notes. Beauty is ephemeral, however, and by May 1, when Hyakutake passes closest to the sun, it will be lost in the star's glare. The comet will then veer south, becoming visible only in the Southern Hemisphere. By summer, observers will need a telescope to view Hyakutake. Then, calculates bureau director Brian G. Marsden, the comet won't be back for 10,000 to 20,000 years. The Hubble Space Telescope will attempt a snapshot of the comet on March 25 and plans to take both pictures and spectra on April 1.
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|Title Annotation:||comet to be visible in northern skies from March 23 through March 29, 1996|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Mar 23, 1996|
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