NASA experts will discuss and answer public questions about Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE during a broadcast of NASA Science Live and follow up media teleconference on Wednesday, July 15. Halley's Comet is one of the most famous short-period comets and orbits the sun once every 75 years. "It's an fantastic sight and everyone should have a look". "If you can stay up until it's really dark, you'll see a double tail on it", he told us.
NEOWISE, so-called because it's a "near-Earth object" discovered by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, was first discovered on March 27. The temperatures were so high that they sparked eruptions in the gas and dust of the comet's surface, causing a long streaking trail. The white tail we normally think about on comets is made of dust and ice.
"We've had other comets that were duds".
Mike Murray, Program Director at Delta College Planetarium, advises us the comet will appear in the sky just a little north of northwest. An image taken from a smartphone will be much different than one taken with a DSLR, but a smartphone image could help folks find the comet in the sky.
With clear skies overhead and Comet NEOWISE now visible just after sunset, this week will bring great viewing opportunities for those wanting to try and see a glimpse of the comet.
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This is the only chance for us to see the roughly 5-kilometer-(3-mile)-wide comet before it careens away from our planet, not to be seen again for almost seven millennia. "All the ducks have lined up in a row for it".
A majority of comets fly through the solar system invisible to humans, usually too small and dim to be seen with the naked eye.
If you view NEOWISE with the naked eye, you'll see what looks like a fuzzy star with a bit of a tail.
NEOWISE will appear under the Big Dipper about 10 degrees above the horizon.
The comet will reach its closest point to Earth on the evening of July 22, passing our planet at a distance of around 64.3 million miles (103.5 million kilometres) away. It will gradually fade as it recedes. "It is actually the long-exposure shots that reveal a breath-taking view of this comet, of any celestial object for that matter", he added.