April Fools' Day Comet will make its closest pass to Earth on record -- and that's no joke
A comet named 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák is set to make its closest flyby to Earth since it was originally discovered in 1858.
The comet's tongue-twister of a name stems from the surnames of the three astronomers who separately discovered it -- Horace Parnell Tuttle in 1858, Michel Giacobini in 1907 and Lubos Kresák in 1951.
Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák orbits around the sun almost every 5.5 years, and right now, its "perihelion passage" is set to occur on April 12.
A perihelion passage is the point in the orbit of a planet, asteroid or comet when it is closest to the sun.
A few days before Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák reaches perihelion, the comet will be very near its closest point to Earth for a 6-day period between March 29 and April 3, according to Space.com.
The absolute closest it will come to the Earth will be smack in the middle of that date range -- on April Fools' Day -- when it will zoom by approximately 13.2 million miles away.
Pending atmospheric conditions, viewers in the Northern Hemisphere should be able to see it on Saturday night around 9 PM EST near the handle of the Big Dipper -- however, since the comet is less than a mile in diameter, you'll need either high-quality binoculars or a telescope to check it out.