Comet NEOWISE reached peak brightness on July 23, when it was at the closest point to Earth during it`s journey. C/2020 F3 NEOWISE is the official name of the comet found by astronomers on March 27. It will still be visible until the middle of August, according to NASA, and then will need 6,800 years to pass by our planet again.
NEOWISE can be observed this evening with the naked eye, but astronomers say that using binoculars would be useful. The best way to see the comet is by looking north-east at the sky.
“Comet NEOWISE will head through Lynx and into Ursa Major, passing beneath the familiar asterism of seven bright stars known as the Big Dipper, or the Plough. This will keep it low in the sky before dawn, but it will increasingly be visible earlier in the night, in a darker sky”, according to Paul Sutherland, the author of Skymania.
Spectacular images of the comet were captured during the past weeks in Stonehenge, Ireland, Slovenia, even the Rio Grande.
Astronomers say that it`s the brightest comet visible from Earth`s Northern Hemisphere in the past 25 years.
“From its infrared signature, we can tell that it is about 5 kilometers across, and by combining the infrared data with visible-light images, we can tell that the comet’s nucleus is covered with sooty, dark particles left over from its formation near the birth of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago”, explains Joseph Masiero, NEOWISE deputy principal investigator at NASA.
Photo: YouTube capture