Albertan skywatchers share photos of Comet NEOWISE as it soars past Earth

James Marshall
July 13, 2020

The new comet got its name from the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer spacecraft, tasked with tracking asteroids, which sighted it in March.

"It was flawless conditions, clear and crisp and the comet was right above the stones", he said.

From July 14, a comet discovered on March 27 named C/2020 F3 will appear in the North Western sky, Dr. Subhendu Pattnaik, Deputy Director of Pathani Samanta Planetarium, Odisha told news agency ANI.

Picture of comet Neowise over Norfolk.

Neowise will be closest to earth on its way out of the solar system on July 22 at a safe distance of 103 million kilometres and will be starting to fade with a shortening tail as it retreats from the sun's heat and back to the icy depths of space.

C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) should stick around through mid-August, when it makes its way across Earth's orbit into the outer parts of the solar system.

Made of gas, dust, ice and rock, comets tend to come from the furthest regions of our solar system and move in long orbits.

Scientists have been taking advantage of NEOWISE's trip to learn more about its surface composition, according to the NASA statement.

Through the month: As the sun sets slightly earlier through the month, so NEOWISE could become visible a few minutes earlier.

"When I went out last night, I was actually able to see it with my naked eye by looking at the comet and looking slightly to the right or left of it, using my peripheral vision", she said.

She said it's now visible in the constellation Auriga, which can be found by tracking the star Capella - the second brightest star in the night sky.

You could also view it about 80 minutes before sunrise on Monday morning - it will be about "one fist up" from the north-eastern horizon. By July 14 its altitude will have already doubled to 10 degrees, and by July 19 it will have doubled yet again to 20 degrees up by the end of nautical twilight.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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