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Sky & Telescope News Bulletin - February 16, 1996



And in comet news, expectations are still high for Comet Hyakutake (C/1996 B2). Its orbit is being further refined with the help of a pre-discovery image taken on January 1st. The comet is still 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. Observations this past week indicate that it is exceeding earlier brightness estimates. No comet has been this bright since Comet West in 1976. And meteorologist Joe Rao explains that only 11 comets in the past 300 years have come this close to the Earth. But for now, Comet Hyakutake is an 8th-magnitude puff near the intersection of Libra, Virgo, and Hydra. Here are positions for 0 hours Universal Time:

              R.A. (2000) Dec.
February 18   14h 45m  -24.5 dg
         20   14  46   -24.3
         22   14  47   -24.1

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