November 6,2002 the Near Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) discovered a
comet at about a magnitude 17.3. The comet passed very close to the sun
on February 18, 2003. Animation of the event recorded by SOHO can
be seen here..
At the beginning of
March 2003 the comet was gracing the Southern skies, Ian Cooper reported:
"I had seen the comet on a few nights
during the week but it was in the twilight. This was the first night we had seen
Comet NEAT with the naked eye. The magnitude was around 2.5 - 3.0. The tail was 5
degrees long in binoculars. Not as bright as Halley in the morning sky back in
March '86, but still a "good" comet by astronomers standards. Cheers!"