Just earlier this year, the NEOWISE space telescope has discovered one comet, which is quite suspicious, if you’re asking us. When it was discovered back in March, the comet, which is dubbed as Comet NEOWISE – Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. It was found 194 million miles away from the Sun, and it was shining at a magnitude of +17. The lower the magnitude, the brighter the object. That’s 25,000 times fainter than the faintest star, which we can see with the naked eye. This one was only visible with large telescopes.
However, back in July, the comet had everyone hoping that it will become an amazing object for people to watch after SWAN and ATLAS were seen earlier this year. The brightest stars in the sky are of the first magnitude. These stars are 100 times brighter than those of the sixth magnitude.
How the Comet NEOWISE had more luck than the other two
The Comet NEOWISE has managed to survive its closest approach to the Sun, unlike SWAN and ATLAS. On its way to the Sun, the comet showed a circular head – coma – compared to that of ATLAS, which was barely visible, and that of SWAN, which was like a “hammerhead”. Both of them faded away long before they reached the vicinity of the Sun.
Before NEOWISE’s solar arrival, which took place Friday, on the 3rd of July, Michael Mattiazzo, who is a comet watcher, stated that NEOWISE would be intact, with at least a 70% chance to survive the approach to the Sun. And it really did. The comet was 44 million km away from the Sun in July, when it had to go through temperatures of up to 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit – that’s 593 degrees Celsius.