A new comet, C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), is now visible to the naked eye in the northern hemisphere. The Near Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explore (NEOWISE) telescope first spotted the comet on March 27. You can spot the comet for almost the entire month of July.
There’s a new comet in town. C/2020 F3, also known as NEOWISE, has arrived—and you can actually see it with your naked eye. The comet is most visible before dawn and after dusk, and it’s already causing quite a stir.
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NEOWISE is named for the telescope that discovered it. The Earth-orbiting space telescope Near Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, which launched in 2009, first spotted the comet on March 27.
While the comet is relatively bright, with a magnitude of around +1, it’s not likely to go down in the history books as one of the “great” naked-eye comets. Comet Hale-Bopp (1997) and Comet McNaught (2006) are two recent examples of great comets that have swooped through the skies.
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On July 3, NEOWISE reached perihelion, or the closest point in its orbit to the sun, according to Space. It survived its 27.3 million-mile brush with the sun and will make its closest approach to Earth on July 22.
In the meantime, the best time to spot the comet is about 80 minutes before dawn across the northeastern horizon. NEOWISE will reach its highest point in the sky around July 11. Then, around July 12 to 15, the comet will be visible 80 minutes after dusk over the northwestern
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