ORLANDO, Fla. – The third time is a charm!
Comet ATLAS and SWAN both had promise to be naked-eye comets in our sky this spring. And although both brightened quickly, they fizzled.
The excitement surrounding newly-discovered Comet NEOWISE wasn’t as intense but had the some potential to become visible to the naked eye early in July. And NEOWISE is delivering.
NEOWISE survived its trip around the sun and is currently visible in the morning sky to the unaided eye. Check out more about how to see it below.
Comet NEOWISE was discovered by NASA’s Near Earth Object-Wide Infrared Surveyor Explorer telescope in late March and is now back on a trip to the outer reaches of our solar system.
How to see
It will be visible in the northern pre-dawn sky for a few more mornings before becoming visible after the sun sets for the remainder of the month.
NEOWISE won’t be as obvious as Hale-Bopp was in the 90s, but you should be able to spot it with the unaided eye if you know where and what you are looking for.
Having a pair of binoculars handy will definitely help your cause in viewing NEOWISE. It will appear as a fuzzy ball with a faint tail.
Starting July 15, low on the horizon, look for NEOWISE after sunset in the northwest sky. Locate the Big Dipper and look below it. NEOWISE will climb higher in the sky each night making it easier to see, however the comet will begin to dim slightly as it moves further away from the sun.
NEOWISE is even visible from the ISS! Cosmonaut Ivan Vagner on the International Space Station snapped this photo of NEOWISE on the Fourth of July.
During the next revolution I tried to capture the C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) comet a bit closer, the brightest one over the last 7 years.— Ivan Vagner (@ivan_mks63) July 4, 2020
Its tail is quite clearly visible from the @Space_Station!#ISS #comet #NEOWISE pic.twitter.com/FnWkCummD6
If you snap any photos, upload them right to the Pinpoint Weather App in the PinIt section (camera icon). Happy viewing!