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Follow #MarsComet #SidingSpring on Social Media

Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist/Science Writer

Sunday, October 19, 2014, 3:23 PM - Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) is flying by Mars today, coming as close as 140,000 kilometres from the planet's surface, and while the various robot orbiters and rovers there are collecting as much data from the encounter as they can, here are the best samples of the flyby from here on Earth.

NASA and the European Space Agency have spacecraft and rovers making all the observations they can of Comet Siding Spring as it zips by Mars today. However, most of the spacecraft will have to turn away from their usual vantage point (looking at the planet) for this, plus duck behind the planet to protect themselves as Mars swings through the comet's tail. This means that they won't be able to use their fastest modes of communication (high-gain antennas) to send data back to Earth, so getting results from the observations will take time.

While that's happening, though, there are plenty of people here on Earth watching the encounter, and here's a sampling of their results so far.

EXTENDED MARS COMET COVERAGE: Come back for updates about this once-in-a-million-years encounter, watch for more articles detailing the amazing results of the flyby observations, and follow @ScottWx_TWN, #MarsComet and #SidingSpring on Twitter for more...

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