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Photos: Comet fragments in close encounter with Earth

NASA says the Earth will be safe from a broken comet on May 25 despite rumors spreading across the Internet.
By Bill Detwiler, Contributor
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1 of 2 Bill Detwiler/ZDNET

Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3

Despite rumors spreading across the Internet, NASA says the Earth will safe from a broken comet on May 25. The Hubble space telescope took this photo of Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, which has broken into about 40 pieces. The comet and its pieces are expected to pass within 5.5 million miles from the Earth between May 12 and May 28. That's 20 times the distance from the Earth to the moon. It will be visible on small telescopes.

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2 of 2 Bill Detwiler/ZDNET

comet pieces

Astronomers have named the pieces of Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3. The largest is C fragment (not pictured in this photo), which will pass within 7.3 million miles of the Earth on May 12.

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