The comet was discovered on March 27, 2020 by the NEOWISE space telescope while it was looking for objects close to Earth likely to have an impact on our planet. Measuring just over half the height of Mount Everest, this object falls into the category of “comets once every ten years”.
Each year, amateur and professional astronomers observe 5 to 10 comets with telescopes. In most cases, they show a green core from the sublimation of frozen chemicals such as ammonia and others. The extremely weak tail is visible during photography, but all the comets are of different composition and appearance because Neowise does not appear green. The last bright comet that was visible to the naked eye for the whole world to see was Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997. And like Neowise, it also had a blue ion or gas tail and a tail of shaped dust fan created when comets orbit the sun like it did on July 3 at a close distance of 43 million kilometers.
Neowise will be closest to Earth when it exits the solar system on July 22 at a safe distance of 103 million kilometers and will begin to fade with a shortened tail as it withdraws from the heat of the sun and returns in the freezing depths of space. . Comet Neowise hails from the Oort Cloud, where long-lived comets reside and will return nearly 6,800 years from now. Halley’s comet is a short-lived comet from the Kuiper belt. In addition to this comet path chart, many astronomy apps for smartphones will also guide you to our celestial visitor. Take advantage of this spectacular comet whenever you can because you never know when the next brilliant will come to visit.
Known as “The Backyard Astronomer”, Gary Boyle is an astronomer, guest speaker and monthly columnist for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. He has been interviewed on over 50 Canadian radio stations and local Ottawa television. In recognition of its influence with the public in astronomy, the International Astronomical Union paid tribute to it by naming the asteroid (22406) Garyboyle. Follow him on Twitter: @astroeducator or his website: www.wondersofastronomy.com
By Gary Boyle – The Backyard Astronomer
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