Comet Hyakutake 18-19 March, 1996
AAO image reference UKS 33.    « Previous || Next »

Comet Hyakutake 18-19 March, 1996
Image width is about 2 degrees
Image and text © 2000-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory.
Photograph from UK Schmidt plates by David Malin.


Comet Hyukatake (Comet C/1996 B2) was the surprise comet of 1996. It was discovered with binoculars on January 30 and on March 25 passed within 0.1 Astronomical Units (15 million km) of the earth. That's close! As a result of its proximity its tail had the greatest extent of any comet in recent times. From a dark site it was 100 degrees long, arching over more than half the sky. The comet was visible to the naked eye for about two months just before and after its close approach. Comet Hyukatake is an infrquent visitor and is not expected to appear the inner solar system again for another 25,000 years.

Related images, other comets
AAT 46.    Halley's Comet, December, 1985
UKS 19.   Halley's Comet, 12 March, 1986
UKS 19a  Features in the dust tail of Comet Halley, 12 March, 1986
AAT 117.  Halley's Comet, April 9-10, 1986 (AAT image)
UKS 34.   Halley's Comet on April 9-10, 1986
MISC 20. Comet Halley hanging in the Milky Way in 1986.

For details of object position and photographic exposure, search technical table by UKS reference number.

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Updated by David Malin, 2010, July 25