Comet Neowise caught on camera from Combe Gibbet

James Marshall
July 12, 2020

A new comet, identified by a space telescope in March, will be bright enough to be seen from Earth this weekend, NBC News reports.

Atop the almost 11,500 foot-high Hochfeiler mountain in the South Tyrol Alps in Italy, Martin Rietze captured the image of the NEOWISE comet and the Noctilucent clouds, SWNS reports.

Astronomer Rachel Wang with Vancouver's HR Macmillan Space Centre said NEOWISE is a rare comet, on a massive "near parabolic" orbit.

For the next few days, the comet will be visible about an hour before sunrise in the northeastern sky in the U.S., NASA adds. Now the comet is headed our way, with the closest approach in two weeks. It passed closest to the Sun on July 3 and its closest approach to the Earth will occur on July 23.

In images, the comet showed up as a "glowing, fuzzy dot moving across the sky even when it was still pretty far away", according to Amy Mainzer, NEOWISE principal investigator at the University of Arizona. It has a nucleus that is covered with sooty, dark particles left over from its formation near the birth of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago.

The comet will be visible across the Northern Hemisphere until mid-August when it heads back toward the outer solar system. Right now, the comet is visible to the naked eye, but a good pair of binoculars would offer a better view.

The comet that has been unseen to the human eye for the last 6,800 years will finally make an appearance.

He said it is the brightest comet since the mid-1990s for stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere.

C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) has a split tail that you can see in numerous photos of the comet that have made it to social media, including this one from NASA.

Since being identified, NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory, the ESA/NASA Solar, Heliospheric Observatory, and astronauts aboard the International Space Station have spotted the icy rock.

"Stars, cities, spaceships, and a comet!" he tweeted from orbit.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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