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Saturday, August 08, 2020

Neowise comet streaks past Earth, providing a spectacular show

The comet will be visible across the Northern Hemisphere until mid-August when it heads back toward the outer solar system.

By: AP | Cape Canaveral, Fla. | Published: July 11, 2020 1:14:46 pm
Neowise comet, NASA, Neowise, Neowise telescope, Neowise closest to earth, Neowise from space, Neowise closest to sun, Neowise sighting, Neowise last sighting, Trending news, Indian Express news Comet Neowise soars in the horizon of the early morning sky seen from near the grand view lookout at the Colorado National Monument west of Grand Junction. (Picture credit: AP)

A newly discovered comet is streaking past Earth, providing a stunning night-time show after buzzing the sun and expanding its tail.

Comet Neowise — the brightest comet visible from the Northern Hemisphere in a quarter-century — 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. Now the comet is headed our way, with the closest approach in two weeks.

Neowise comet, NASA, Neowise, Neowise telescope, Neowise closest to earth, Neowise from space, Neowise closest to sun, Neowise sighting, Neowise last sighting, Trending news, Indian Express news The Comet NEOWISE or C/2020 F3 is seen above Salgotarjan, Hungary, early Friday, July 10, 2020. It passed closest to the Sun on July 3 and its closest approach to the Earth will occur on July 23. (Picture credit: AP)

NASA’s Neowise infrared space telescope discovered the comet in March.

Scientists involved in the mission said the comet is about 3 miles (5 kilometres) across. Its nucleus is covered with sooty material dating back to the origin of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

The comet will be visible across the Northern Hemisphere until mid-August when it heads back toward the outer solar system. 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.

Neowise comet, NASA, Neowise, Neowise telescope, Neowise closest to earth, Neowise from space, Neowise closest to sun, Neowise sighting, Neowise last sighting, Trending news, Indian Express news The Comet NEOWISE or C/2020 F3 is seen above Cered, Hungary, Monday, July 6, 2020. (Picture credit: AP)

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.
He said it is the brightest comet since the mid-1990s for stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have already caught a glimpse.

Neowise comet, NASA, Neowise, Neowise telescope, Neowise closest to earth, Neowise from space, Neowise closest to sun, Neowise sighting, Neowise last sighting, Trending news, Indian Express news In this image released by NASA, Comet Neowise, left, is seen in the eastern horizon above Earth in this image taken from the International Space Station on Sunday, July 5, 2020. (Picture credit: AP)

NASA’s Bob Behnken shared a spectacular photo of the comet on social media late Thursday, showing central Asia in the background and the space station in the foreground.

“Stars, cities, spaceships, and a comet!” he tweeted from orbit.

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