The NEOWISE comet was closer to Earth than ever last week, on July 23, when it came less than 64 million miles away. Luckily enough, that doesn’t mean that you’ve lost all chances to feast your eyes on NEOWISE again. Comets and asteroids passing by our planet represent something usual since the dawn of time, as the Universe’s wealth is practically infinite.
Perhaps the highlight of the NEOWISE comet is the beautiful tail that stretches for millions of miles across space.
Catch it until the end of July
To see NEOWISE, just look for it below and to the left of the Big Dipper asterism (aka Plough) located at the west-northwest skies. This large structure consists of seven bright stars of the Ursa Major constellation; six of the stars are of second magnitude and one of them (namely Megrez) is of the third magnitude.
Emily Kramer, who works at NASA and is the NEOWISE co-investigator, declared:
“You should be able to see it from most places in the Northern Hemisphere, so long as you have a reasonably dark sky and have a clear view of the northwestern horizon.”
But the good news is far from over: the comet is visible to the naked eye, but opting for a pair of binoculars or a little telescope could help you a lot.
Joe Masiero, who is the deputy principal investigator of the NEOWISE mission, also comes to clarify some things:
“You can’t really see it with the human eye although you might notice it moving a little bit with respect to the background stars.
“If, for instance, you have a camera with a tripod and you’re taking images over time, but on minute-to-minute, it’s not moving very fast.
You better act fast and try to spot NEOWISE, as it will visit Earth again after at least 6,800 years. While nobody would mind living that long, scientists still didn’t figure out how to enhance life expectancy that much. The comet was discovered back on March 27 and was officially named C/2020 F3 NEOWISE.