Nasa detects 2 space rocks heading towards Earth, still to be characterized

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This week a comet that started life in the outer reaches of our solar system will be visible from Earth for the first time, as it approaches our planet’s orbit.

The comet will be 66 million miles (106 million km) from Earth at its closest approach.

Another recently-discovered object, called 2016 WF9, has also been taking a scenic tour of our solar system, approaching Jupiter’s orbit at its greatest distance from the sun.

On 25 February this year, it will approach Earth’s orbit, passing at a distance of nearly 32 million miles (51 million kilometers) from Earth.  But Nasa still doesn’t know whether the object is an asteroid or a comet.

The comet, C/2016 U1 NEOWISE, ‘has a good chance of becoming visible through a good pair of binoculars, although we can’t be sure because a comet’s brightness is notoriously unpredictable,’ said Paul Chodas, manager of Nasa’s Center for Near-Earth Object (NEO) Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

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