After the comets Swan and Atlas that were discovered in early 2020 fizzled out, the brightest comet to grace the sky in decades, the Comet Neowise, or C/20202 F3, is now here for a large part of the northern hemisphere to see.
The comet will be visible in the northwest sky in India from 14 July onwards.
"From July 14, C/2020 F3, a comet discovered on March 27, will be clearly visible in the north-western sky. It will be visible after sunset for around 20 minutes for the next 20 days. People can observe it from naked eyes," said Subhendu Pattnaik, deputy director of Pathani Samanta Planetarium in Bhubaneswar told ANI.
"In the evenings to follow, the comet will rapidly climb higher in the sky and will be visible for a longer period," he added.
Comet Neowise swept within Mercury's orbit a week ago. Its close proximity to the sun caused dust and gas to burn off its surface and create an even bigger debris tail. According to a report by CNET, Neowise passed a critical point when it survived its closest brush with the sun without cracking up from the heat last week.
NASA's Neowise infrared space telescope discovered the comet on 27 March. Scientists involved in the mission said the comet is about five kilometres across and its nucleus is covered with sooty material dating back to the origin of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.
Soon after, numerous amateur photographers began sharing stunning images of the comet just above the horizon during predawn hours.
Twitter user Jeremy Perez shared the image shot from close to the Wupatki National Monument showcasing the bright celestial body.
Last night I scoured Google Earth lining up roads that would matched the bearing of where the comet would rise this morning. Finally found a spot along my favorite road in Wupatki National Monument and narrowed to this creviced bend to work with. #neowise #cometneowise 1/ pic.twitter.com/zI3TkVlv1H
" Jeremy Perez (@jperez1690) July 9, 2020
Another Twitter user shared images of the comet as seen from Paris.
NEOWISE this mornig from #Paris. Last time I saw a comet that bright it was 23 years ago. #NEOWISE is easy to see with the naked eye even from Paris, and with my 12x36 binoculars it is similar to these pictures. pic.twitter.com/csHIx30Ndl
" Skywalker (@JLucDauvergne) July 8, 2020
A number of other users and astronomy enthusiasts shared images of the comet as well.
" Stacey Anne Leeson (@StaceyALee) July 8, 2020
" Philipp Salzgeber (@astro_graph) July 10, 2020
" Edward.Vijayakumar (@edwanx) July 10, 2020
" Mike Beganyi (@mikebeganyi) July 9, 2020
#Comet C/2020 F3 #NeowiseComet appears over Lake Mead, Nevada outside #LasVegas before sunrise on Thursday, July 9, 2020. #Photography © @vegasphotograph#Vegas#NEOWISE #Space#Stars #cometc2020f3 pic.twitter.com/i3eDX8oPZa
" 📸 @VegasPhotograph | Richard Brian Photography 📸 (@vegasphotograph) July 9, 2020
According to the CNET report, as the comet moves farther away from the sun and closer to Earth, it will be visible in the evening sky and not before dawn.
As per NASA solar system ambassador Eddie Irizarry, Neowise should be visible just before and around the time of first light till 11 July. It will again start to be visible in the evening between 15 and 16 July.
While it's visible with the naked eye in dark skies with little or no light pollution, binoculars are needed to see the long tail, according to NASA. It will be about 7,000 years before the comet returns, "so I wouldn't suggest waiting for the next pass," said the telescope's deputy principal investigator Joe Masiero of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Recently, astronauts from the International Space Station managed to get a stunning glimpse of a natural light show from a comet this weekend.
NASA astronaut Bob Behnken shared a tweet highlighting Neowise. He captioned the post, "Last night's fireworks, for real. Because Science."
" Bob Behnken (@AstroBehnken) July 5, 2020
With inputs from wires