KEY POINTS

  • NASA shared tips on how to spot comet NEOWISE
  • NEOWISE will appear below the Big Dipper after sunset
  • The comet will appear higher in the horizon as it approaches Earth

NASA has shared a couple of helpful tips on how to spot the visible comet known as NEOWISE in the sky. According to the agency, the comet is expected to appear higher above the horizon within the next couple of days.

The comet that has caught the attention of the media and skywatchers everywhere is officially known as C/2020 F3. It got its nickname from NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE), the telescope that first discovered the comet on March 27 earlier this year.

Currently, the 3-mile-wide comet is moving closer to Earth, making it more visible to the human eye. Although it can be spotted without the use of special equipment, a pair of binoculars or low-power telescopes can be used to get a clear glimpse of comet NEOWISE.

Recently, NASA shared a couple of tips on how the comet can be viewed from Earth. According to the agency, the comet becomes increasingly visible shortly after sunset. During this time, observers in the northern hemisphere should look towards the northwest sky to spot the comet.

“If you’re looking at the sky without the help of observation tools, Comet NEOWISE will likely look like a fuzzy star with a bit of a tail, so using binoculars or a small telescope is recommended to get the best views of this object,” NASA stated.

NASA noted that it would be best to find a place with an unobstructed view of the sky. It would also help to stay away from bright lights since these could affect the visibility of comet NEOWISE.

When looking for the comet after sunset, start by looking for the Big Dipper in the northwest sky. According to NASA, comet NEOWISE will appear below the constellation during this time.

During the next couple of days, the comet will move closer to Earth. As indicated in the illustration provided by NASA, comet NEOWISE will appear higher on the horizon until July 23, which is right after the comet reaches its closest distance to Earth.

After passing the planet, the comet will carry on with its journey into deep space. NASA said it wouldn’t be visible from Earth again in another 6,800 years.