Comet LINEAR: Breaking up isn't hard to do | Science News

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Comet LINEAR: Breaking up isn't hard to do

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12:43pm, April 14, 2003

It took some 4 billion years for Comet LINEAR-S4 to leave its icy home far beyond Pluto and journey to the inner solar system. Alas, that trip, likely the comet's maiden voyage, appears to have become its last.

Astronomers had high hopes for the comet, discovered in September 1999 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research program in Socorro, N.M. At that time, the comet resided near the orbit of Jupiter and its brightness suggested that it would rank as a naked-eye spectacle when it made its closest approach to Earth late last month. The comet never became that bright.

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