No Joke: April Fools' Comet to Pass Closest to Earth Since Discovery
An unusually favorable opportunity to view a famous periodic comet in small telescopes comes during the next couple of weeks, when passes closer to Earth than at any return since its discovery in 1858.
The comet's perihelion point, which is that part of its orbit taking it closest to the sun, lies just outside Earth's orbit. This year, the perihelion passage occurs April 12, when the comet will be 97.1 million miles (156.3 million kilometers) from the sun. But because the orbit of the comet nearly parallels the orbit of Earth at this point, there will be a six-day period — from March 29 through April 3 — when Tuttle-Giacobini- Kresák will be very near to its closest point to Earth.
The comet will, in fact, be closest to Earth on April Fools' Day (April 1); just about 13.2 million miles (21.2 million km) away.