Comet 252P/LINEAR flew past Earth at its closest distance of about 5.3 million km around March 21 (just after midnight on 22nd in Eastern Australia). It was the fifth closest comet to Earth on record.

The comet surprised everyone by getting much brighter than anticipated and became visible to the naked Eye. The appearance of comet is subtle and I saw it as a fuzzy blob about twice the size of the Moon.

On March 16th the comet was close to the Large Magellanic Cloud
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It moved quite fast toward Centaurus and on March 20th the comet was nicely positioned between the Southern Cross (Crux) and Magellanic Clouds:
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Annotated image:
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It continued it’s fast apparent motion and on March 21st I took a quick 5-panel mosaic image in the 45-minute window between Moon set and morning twilight to capture the comet and the Milky Way core with two planets – Mars and Saturn forming a triangle with a bright orange star Antares.
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Annotated image:
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The comet is now in the glow of the Moon but hopefully it will remain bright enough for another week and will be enjoyed by observers in both hemispheres.

 

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