Comet NEOWISE will be most visible through July 15th

Comet NEOWISE will be most visible through July 15th
(July 5, 2020) --- The tiny shooting star in the lower center of this image is Comet NEOWISE pictured from the International Space Station as it orbited above the Mediterranean Sea in between Tunisia and Italy. (Source: NASA)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -The comet NEOWISE will be making an appearance in our skies over the next three weeks. It’s been falling toward the sun for over 3,000 years and you can see it in the evening in the northeast sky around sunrise and just after sunset. Binoculars will be best for viewing.

(July 5, 2020) --- The tiny shooting star in the lower center of this image is Comet NEOWISE pictured from the International Space Station as it orbited above the Mediterranean Sea in between Tunisia and Italy.
(July 5, 2020) --- The tiny shooting star in the lower center of this image is Comet NEOWISE pictured from the International Space Station as it orbited above the Mediterranean Sea in between Tunisia and Italy. (Source: NASA)

The Comet got it’s name NEOWISE from the space telescope that discovered it on March 27th. It will be visible for most of the US but the farther north you are the better.

The Comet will be most visible until July 15th. Here are some tips that astronomer recommend for good viewing. If you are trying to spot the comet before dawn...

  • Find a open view to the northeast
  • Start searching no later than 1 hour and 50 minutes before sunrise

Some other things to look for is Venus, which will be shining low and bright off to the right, in the eastern sky. In the northeast sky, to the left will be an even brighter star, which is Capella. Capella is your starting point. In this lower left area of Capella is where the comet is expected to be. Astronomers suggest looking for a little star with an extending tail. Binoculars will give you a clearer display of the comet and its tail.

After July 14th it may be harder to see the comet’s motion as it will have shifted its position to the evening sky. When it shifts to emerging in the evening sky, Astronomer say that the Comet NEOWISE may no longer be visible by eye. However the chance of catching a glimpse may improve if you can find a location that’s free from city lights.

For the evening viewing, begin looking around 1 hour after sunset. Astronomers suggest looking about three fists below the “bowl” of the Big Dipper.

Every evening after July 14th the NEOWISE Comet will be getting dimmer, but higher up as twilight ends.

On July 23rd, the Comet NEOWISE will be closest to Earth and may still be visible. Astronomers say on the 23rd the best way to locate it, is by first finding the two stars at the bottom of the Big Dipper’s bowl. From the bowl, draw an imaginary line through the bowl toward the lower left to a point in the sky a little more than about one fist away. In this area you may catch a glimpse of the comet.

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