This month, a cosmic visitor is gracing the skies and it’s putting on quite the show. Nicknamed NEOWISE after the telescope that first spotted it, a comet swept past the sun on July 3 and has since become visible to the naked eye.
Comet NEOWISE is expected to be at its brightest and easiest to see in mid-July, though it is already surpassing expectations for its naked-eye brightness. However, comets are known to fizzle out at any moment.
According to NASA’s Eddie Irizarry, it should remain visible just before and around the time of first light until July 11. You may also be able to see it before sunrise on Saturday. The comet will then dip below the horizon as it transitions from being an early riser to an evening sensation.
Starting around July 12 you will be able to see the comet in the evening as well, Lecky Hepburn tells Scientific American. About an hour after sunset, it will appear near the northwestern horizon. As the month progresses, it will rise higher in the sky, moving from the constellation Lynx toward the Big Dipper.
Comet NEOWISE is expected to be closest to the Earth on July 23, so if it remains bright, during that week will be the best time to see it. That will also be during a new moon when the sky will be dark and when the comet will be visible before midnight, according to Forbes.
Comet NEOWISE was first discovered on March 27 by NASA’s Near-Earth Objects Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) space telescope.
The newly discovered Comet NEOWISE — also called C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) — survived its closest encounter with the sun July 3 without breaking up and has become visible in the Northern Hemisphere.
Photographers, like Tyler Schlitt, in Washington, MO, have been getting up very early to get pictures of the comet. He reminds those looking to get photos to get a far from the lights of the city as possible and don’t forget about summer humidity.
“In July, you typically have those high humidities so your camera is going to fog up as soon as you walk outside from cold to hot. Typically, you want your camera the same temperature, so I leave mine in the car. I live in the middle of nowhere. I feel safe enough to do that. You can leave it in the garage. You can leave it in a shed that your lock,” says Schlitt.
Did you see the comet? Share your pictures here: