Local Viewing Of Comet NEOWISE Is Peaking Now

Jul 22, 2020

Diagram of Comet NEOWISE
Credit Sky & Telescope

Wednesday, July 22nd is Comet NEOWISE'S closest approach to Earth, then it will slowly move away and be pretty easily viewable for about another week.

WEMU's Lisa Barry checks in with Eastern Michigan University astronomy professor and director of Eastern's Sherzer Observatory Norbert Vance for viewing tips and information about this rare comet appearance in the nighttime sky.

Sitting 64 million miles from Earth, the recently discovered comet NEOWISE will still be viewable in the northwest sky for about another week.  EMU astronomy professor Norbert Vance says it's a "pretty" comet and is easy to spot in the northwest sky shortly after sunset around 10:15pm especially away from city lights.  He says to look for it below the bowl of the Big Dipper sooner vs. later and it climbs higher and higher into the night sky.

View of Comet NEOWISE from Sherzer Observatory
Credit Norbert Vance / Eastern Michigan University

The comet hasn't been seen from Earth in some four thousand years and is not expected to be visible for another seven thousand years.

Credit Norbert Vance / Eastern Michigan University

Vance says scientists are studying the gasses that come from the comet that is about three miles wide.  The comet is headed back out beyond the orbit of Pluto beyond the plain of the solar system.

Credit Norbert Vance / Eastern Michigan University

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu