On March 27, the NEOWISE space telescope discovered the comet that bears his name (listed as C / 2020 F3). It was only visible with large telescopes, but in July, as it moves away from the Sun, its brightness will increase before our eyes and it can be observed from Earth without the need for equipment, depending on atmospheric conditions.
The comet can already be seen before dawn (at approximately 5 in the morning), from July 12, it will be easier to see it after twilight, in the northwest. It will reach its closest point to Earth on July 23. It will pass 103 million kilometers away, a distance 400 further than the one that separates us from the Moon.
“The interplanetary iceberg survived solar warming, until now, and is now approaching Earth as it begins its long trek back to the outer solar system,” NASA said.
Comets fall into two categories. “Common” comets are wispy balls that are only visible with the help of good binoculars or telescopes. Then there are the “Big” comets, those that become bright enough to be clearly visible to the naked eye and accompanied by a striking tail of dust and gas. Unfortunately, they don’t appear very often. In average human life, you may have a chance to see perhaps four if you are very lucky. The last major comet visible from the Northern Hemisphere was Comet Hale-Boppen 1997.
NEOWISE will appear near the horizon just after nightfall heading northwest. Point to the Polaris (the Polar Star) or the Ursa Minor constellation and look for a star whose brightness lengthens and blurs, it will be NEOWISE.
Currently the comet is in the constellation Auriga and in the next few days it will pass through the constellations of Lynx and the Bigger Bear, passing under the group of stars known as “The Chariot” or “The Whale”.
Obviously you will have more opportunity to see it from a point where there is not so much light pollution and it is high. The closer the viewer is to the south, the kite will be closer to the horizon.
External cameras on the International Space Station caught the comet soaring before dawn.