The rare and very ancient Neowise (officially C / 2020 F3) comet flies over the Earth. A cosmic body gets close to the Sun and then approaches the Earth. It can be seen once every 6800 thousand years. What is this comet and when can Ukrainians see it?
Comet with two tails
The comet was discovered by NASA astronauts on March 27 using the WISE infrared telescope. It was seen from afar as a fuzzy point of light moving across the sky.
Its size is about 5 km, the core is covered with dark particles that remained there since the time of its formation, at the dawn of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago. The comet revolves around the Sun in an elongated orbit, and the most distant point of this orbit is at a distance of 715 astronomical units from us.
When it approaches the Sun, its outer shells heat up, so a tail of gas and dust appears. In fact, this comet has two tails. The lower one consists of dust, the upper one is a stream of gas ionized by solar radiation.
Why was it named Neowise? The comet was named after the telescope that spotted it - the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer.
When can we see the comet?
It will be best to look at the comet on the night of July 22-23. Then Neowise will fly closest to Earth. It will be perfectly visible an hour and a half after sunset.
From July 14-15, 2020, residents of the northern hemisphere are better off watching it in the evening, after sunset. You need to look to the northwest. The closer to the end of the month, the higher it will be seen above the horizon.
Now the comet is visible even to the naked eye, but for better observation it is worth using binoculars or a telescope.
The pictures are already being published all over the world, they have also captured the comet over night Zaporizhya.
Comet Neowise now has its own Twitter account. There, every few hours, updates are published about how far from the Earth it is at the moment, where it flies and in the direction of which constellation you need to look.
"I can be seen with the naked eye! I am at a distance of 116.642, 386 km from Earth, and my current magnitude is 1.6. You can see me in the Lynx constellation," reads one of the posts on the comet's page.
Therefore, we open the map of the starry sky, find the constellation Lynx and look at Neowise.
Comet data can also be checked using the Heavens Above online astronomical service. There will be several images of constellation maps. For example, on July 22-23, a comet will need to be looked for in the middle between the constellations Ursa Minor and Leo Minor.
How to photograph Neowise?
Forbes says that it is possible to photograph the comet on some modern smartphones, however, it advises taking a DSLR camera and a tripod. You will also need a long lens.