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Newly discovered comet providing nature’s own fireworks this month and into August



Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Naval Research Lab/Parker Solar Probe/Brendan Gallagher

A comet making its way from the most distant parts of our solar system is putting on quite the display, according to NASA. The Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE, will cross outside the Earth’s orbit on its way back to the outer parts of the solar system by the middle of August. The comet, however, has already been lighting up the night sky.

Observers from all over have been observing the natural fireworks display before the comet speeds away into space. According to NASA, even the astronauts aboard the International Space Station spotted it from their vantage point high above Earth’s atmosphere.

People wanting to catch the comet can spot it as it swings through the inner solar system, but its nearness to the Sun creates some observing challenges.

Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech

NASA issued some instructions on how to get the best viewing experience of the comet.

“Observers might be able to see the comet’s central core, or nucleus, with the naked eye in dark skies; using binoculars will give viewers a good look at the fuzzy comet and its long, streaky tail. As it speeds away from the Sun, Comet NEOWISE will begin to make its appearance in the evening sky shortly after sunset on July 11 or July 12, depending on local conditions.”

“Comets are notoriously unpredictable, so it’s impossible to know if this one will remain so easy to spot, but if it does, it should become easier for more people to observe as July goes on.”

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