Comet C/1996 B2 (Hyakutake) was discovered on 30 January 1996 by the Japanese amateur astronomer Yuji Hyakutake. (It should not to be mistaken for another `comet Hyakutake' discovered by the same person 5 weeks before, C/1995 Y1, which was much less spectacular.) It was soon found out that comet Hyakutake was to make a close approach to Earth on 25 March 1996, at only 0.102 AU (15 300 000 km)