A NEAT Comet
7 Feb 2003
Space Weather News for Feb. 7, 2003 http://www.spaceweather.com
COMET NEAT: Comet NEAT (C/2002 V1) is plunging toward the Sun. At closest approach on Feb. 18th its distance from our star will be only 0.1 AU--much closer to the Sun than the planet Mercury. The Sun's glare will hide the encounter from earthbound observers, but not from the orbiting Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). Follow the links at spaceweather.com to see near-live views of the flyby (courtesy of SOHO) between Feb. 16th and 20th.
Meanwhile, if you live in the northern hemisphere, you can see the comet yourself. Look low and to the west after sunset. Comet NEAT is glowing like a fuzzy 5th magnitude star with a long delicate tail--an easy target for binoculars and small telescopes. Don't wait too many days to look, though, because the comet is fast approaching the glaring Sun.
Visit spaceweather.com for more information about Comet NEAT, Comet Kudo-Fujikawa, which developed a curious split tail after it flew past the Sun last month, and recent geomagnetic activity on Earth.