Comet Hyakutake's first visit to the inner Solar System. Recent orbital determinations clearly show Comet Hyakutake's was here before, although the previous approach is estimated to be about 8600 years ago - during the epoch of the first recorded human cities. Were this the comet's first trip to the inner Solar System, it probably would not appear as bright as it does now - first time comets typically do not shed as much luminous gas as veterans. Before making any approach to the inner Solar System, Comet Hyakutake was dormant in the Oort cloud of the outer Solar System for a few billion years, along with hundreds of thousands of similar comets. Comet Hyakutake is predicted to become the brightest comet since Comet West in 1976, which rivaled the brightest stars in the sky. Tonight, Comet Hyakutake can be seen best from about 10 pm near the Big Dipper's handle.
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.
Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: comet - comet Hyakutake
Publications with words: comet - comet Hyakutake