This fine comet was never expected to become brighter than mag. 9 based on initial reports after its discovery on January 3, 2001. However, in the last week of March the brightness surged unexpectedly from mag 13 to 8, suddenly rendering it an easy target in binoculars. Although many expected the comet would fade back to near its original brightness (or fade altogether) the brightness not only remained elevated, but it continued to brighten! Near perigee in mid-June, 2001, Comet LINEAR had reached magnitude 3, sported a long ion tail and was well visible to the naked eye despite moonlight interference.