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Sky & Telescope News Bulletin - February 9, 1996

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A BRIGHT COMET AT LAST?

Japanese observer Yuji Hyakutake has visually discovered his second comet in six weeks using giant 25 x 150 binoculars. This find came before dawn on the morning of January 31st. Within days, it became obvious that the comet is destined to put on quite a show at the end of March, perhaps reaching 1st magnitude as it streaks near the north celestial pole just 15 million km away under favorably moonless skies. No comet has been this bright since Comet West in 1976. S&T Contributing Editor John Bortle is cautiously optimistic: "If this comet is as intrinsically bright as it first appears, then it might put on as good a show, or better, than what everyone expects from Hale-Bopp in 1997." But for now, Comet Hyakutake is a 10th-magnitude puff near the intersection of Libra, Virgo, and Hydra. Here are positions for 0 hours Universal Time:

               R.A. (2000) Dec.
              ================
February 11   14h 40m  -24.8 dg
         13   14  41   -24.8
         15   14  43   -24.7

 
comethome.gif Comet 1996 B2 Hyakutake Home Page

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