One in lifetime chance to see Comet Neowise

Friday, 17 Jul, 2020

We've been talking about the viewing for Comet NEOWISE for about a week now and you may have also noticed two of the brightest planets to see in the summer, Jupiter and Saturn.

The upper tail segment of the tail is the ion tail.

According to NASA it has since been spotted by several spacecraft and astronauts on board the International Space Station. Then - nearly as quickly as the dust-and-gas-sputtering space rock appeared - it faded into the blinding glare of the sun.

The comet that has caught the attention of the media and skywatchers everywhere is officially known as C/2020 F3. From about July 12 to July 30, evening viewers can see the comet in the northwest starting around an hour after sunset. It passed closest to the Sun on July 3 and its closest approach to Earth will occur on July 23.

The comet should be even easier to view this week as it continues to climb a little higher in the sky every night. He adds that it'll be at its best around 80 minutes before sunrise. It is clearly visible in the evening and early morning skies across the Northeast United States, and will remain that way until next week.

IDA says the last comet that was easily visible to the naked eye was Lovejoy, in 2011, and before that was Hale-Bopp - considered the last of the "great comets" - which appeared brightly to northern hemisphere observers in 1997.

But Comet Neowise isn't sticking around, nor will it make a return in our lifetimes: The object is zooming toward the outer fringes of our solar system, and it won't return to the inner solar system for about 6,768 years. "You can see it all night long after it's dark", Younger advises. "So I wouldn't suggest waiting for the next pass", said Joe Masiero of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NASA's Bob Behnken captured an image of Neowise and shared the picture on social media. "Stars, cities, spaceships, and a comet!"

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from The Associated Press and NASA. Caty Weaver was the editor. "If you're looking in the nighttime, you want to look towards the north-northeast." .