Twin comets to pass Earth this week, the closest in nearly 250 years

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Photo: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

- Two comets will pass by Earth this week -- and one will be the closet comet in nearly 250 years.

Comet 252P/LINEAR, the larger comet at approximately 750 feet, will zip past the Earth on Monday at a range of about 3.3 million miles away.

On Tuesday, Comet P/2016 BA14 will safely fly by our planet at a distance of about 2.2 million miles away. This will be the third closest flyby of a comet in recorded history, according to NASA.

The approaches of these two comets will be the closest they come to Earth for the "foreseeable future," scientists say.

"March 22 will be the closest comet P/2016 BA14 gets to us for at least the next 150 years," said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center of NEO Studies (CNEOS) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Chodas added that Comet P/2016 BA14 "is not a threat" but rather an opportunity for scientific advancement on the study of comets.

According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the two comets follow a nearly identical orbit, which could mean mean the smaller comet, P/2016 BA14, possibly broke off from the larger 252P/LINEAR.

Read more information about the twin comets here.

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