Space enthusiasts from around the world will be able to see a new visitor from the outer parts of the solar system, called Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE. The newly discovered Comet is streaking past Earth and will soon reach its peak in the dawn sky before it finally goes down the horizon. The Comet was discovered by NASA’s Near Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer telescope in March.
As reported by EarthSky, the Comet NEOWISE will have its closest approach to the Sun on July 3 at 43 million kilometres, which is closer than the average distance between Mercury and the Sun. It will reach its maximum point in the dawn sky around July 11 post which it will slowly reach the horizon with every passing day.
There is good news for all the skywatchers out there, especially those residing in India as they will be able to see Comet NEOWISE when it comes closest to the Earth later this month.
You will see its closest approach to Earth between July 22 and July 23, when it streaks just over 10 crore kilometres from the Earth. This is when people in India and other parts of the Northern hemisphere will be able to see Comet NEOWISE right after sunset. Luckily, you will able to view the Comet with just your naked eyes if you don’t have a pair of binoculars. As it starts moving through the outer trenches of the solar system in August, the Comet NEOWISE will begin to fade out.
A Comet is a binocular object which many skywatchers claim to have seen with their naked eyes. However, this may not be applicable to everyone especially those who aren’t seasoned skywatchers. So if you are looking to observe the Comet NEOWISE when it has the closest approach to Earth, it is recommended that you try on a good pair of binoculars.
Comet NEOWISE from ISS, July 5th pic.twitter.com/pAbGdtchAc— Seán Doran (@_TheSeaning) July 7, 2020
I have a strong dislike of early mornings—but so worth it today because wow is that comet beautiful! C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) I was at Sunset Crater by 4AM. It was an easy naked-eye object, but really rewarding through binoculars. Last pic is closest to naked eye scale.#neowise pic.twitter.com/1I0Cx2fZQJ— Jeremy Perez (@jperez1690) July 5, 2020
According to NASA, Comet NEOWISE has a nucleus which is close to 5 kilometres and is enclosed with the sooty particles leftover from its formation. The space agency also notes that Comet NEOWISE takes nearly 6,800 years to make one lap around its long, stretched out orbit.
Image credits: Peter Komka/MTI via AP