may just be the biggest space snowball in decades. After two other promising comets discovered earlier in 2020 – – fizzled and faded away, Comet C / 2020 F3 (it’s Neowise) seems ready to deliver.
Last week it passed a critical point: It survived its closest pass at the sun on July 3 without bursting from the heat, as many comets often do. Over the weekend, a number of amateur astrophotographers began to share stunning images of the comet captured when it appeared just above the horizon in the past.
As Comet Neowise begins to move further away from the sun and closer to the earth, it will change from being visible just before dawn to the evening sky.
According to NASA Solar System Ambassador Eddie Irizarry, it should be visible just before and around the time of the first light until July 11. The comet will then dip below the horizon as it transitions from being an early ascent to a sensation of cocktail hours, hopefully. It will become visible again in the evening around July 15-16. It should be a little easier to see in the second half of July when it is a little higher in the sky. Until then, it will be closer to the northeast horizon.
Right now, the council is shared by many of those who have successfully discovered the comet to first find it in the sky with binoculars or telescopes. Once you find it and its trademark split tail, you should be able to trace it with the naked eye.
, using their highest vantage point.
The comet’s closest passage to earth is July 23, which can provide a particularly exciting viewing opportunity if the comet’s brightness continues to stay where it is or even intensifies. It will also rise a little higher in the sky on July 24 and 25 if you miss the actual flight date. Comets are notoriously neat things that can always break out and burn out at any time, so fingers crossed
For the most optimistic of us, there is a possibility that Neowise shines dramatically to become a so-called “big comet” that is easily visible and spectacular to see with the naked eye. Although there is no strict definition of what a great comet is, it is generally agreed that we have not seen one since Hale-Bopp in 1997.
Between its appearance in the evening sky in the middle of the month, the comet will move from the northeast horizon to the northwest and west edge of the sky.
Here you can see the comet in the coming weeks. Online resources like TheSkyLive also offer similar night sky maps to help your comet hunt.
If you do not catch the comet before it inevitably disappears in August or before, you will have to wait a while for the next trip through the inner solar system, which is currently estimated to happen in 8786.