posted on May, 22 2003 @ 12:15 AM
Back on Aug. 28, 2001, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced the discovery of a new comet spotted by Near Earth Asteroid Tracking team
at Palomar Observatory in southern California. Like several other comets, this one has come to be called NEAT, the acronym for the discovery
The comet should not be confused with another that recently looped around the Sun and that also bore a NEAT moniker. That comet NEAT was designated
C/2002 V1. The comet NEAT anticipated for next year has been designated as C/2001 Q4.
The potential for a bright comet show for the spring of 2004 is based on an improved orbit that places the new comet NEAT’s closest point to the Sun,
or perihelion, at a distance of 89.4 million miles (143.9 million kilometers) on May 15, 2004.
And another thing …
If the prospects for one bright comet doesn’t excite you, how about two?
On Oct. 29, 2002, The IAU announced the discovery by the LINEAR survey of a comet that may also become a bright naked-eye object in May 2004.
Designated C/2002 T7 (LINEAR), the comet is currently shining at around 15th magnitude. The latest orbit suggests that it will come closest to the Sun
on April 23, 2004 at a distance of about 57 million miles (91 million kilometers).