- Officially designated C/1996 B2.
- Discovered on January 31, 1996 by Yuji Hyakutake, an amateur astronomer.
- Passed very close to Earth in March 1996.
- Had one of the closest cometary approaches of a comet for the past 200 years.
- At it's closest point it was 0.10 astronomical units (15 million km) from the earth.
- Hyakutake appeared very bright in the night sky during it's visit.
- Called 'The Great Comet of 1996'.
- Comet nucleus measured at about 2 km across.
- Classified as a long period comet, with a calculated period of 100,000 years.
- The Ulysses spacecraft unexpectedly crossed the Hyakutake's tail (distance > 500 million km from the nucleus) confirming that the comet had the longest tail ever recorded.
- Contains ethane and methane in approximately equal measures.
- This suggests that it's ices formed in interstellar space, away from the Sun, at temperatures of less than or equal to 20 degrees Kelvin.
- The 3 × 10−4 ratio of deuterium to hydrogen in the comet's water ices (determined through spectroscopic observations) is about twice that of the Earth's oceans (~1.5 × 10−4).
Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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