65ºF

What you need to know about the NEOWISE comet that shows up every 7 millennia and how you can see it

It's a bird... it's a plane... it's a comet!

Comet NEOWISE from the tracker on spacein3d.com
Comet NEOWISE from the tracker on spacein3d.com

Houston, TX – Imagine a comet that only shows up every 6,800 years and can be seen with the naked eye as it passes overhead! And you’re here to witness this event!

Get ready for NEOWISE, discovered just this past March by NASA and named after their Near Earth Objects Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer space telescope.

My viewer, Linda L. sent me this quick question: Hi Frank,I am wondering if we will be able to see NEOWISE in the sky any time soon in our area?

The answer is Yes!

On its journey toward the sun, a number of astronomers and sky-watchers spotted the comet, then held their breath hoping the sun didn’t melt it away (which happens a lot with comets). So far, so good. Take a look at this tweet from Jeremy Perez:

Comet NEOWISE courtesy Jeremy Perez
Comet NEOWISE courtesy Jeremy Perez

Rarely can a comet be seen without a full-blown telescope, but this one is bright enough to just look up and spot, although most agree that a pair of binoculars enhance the experience. There is still a bit of an “if” involved as to whether the comet holds together, but let’s be optimistic.

When and Where to Look for NEOWISE

Most everyone can spot the Big Dipper, even those who aren’t regular skywatchers. The comet will be closest to Earth on the evening of July 22 (for us). So that evening, between 9 p.m. and midnight, look just below the scooper of the Big Dipper. If we’re cloudy, there are other nights. Here’s a great guide from mars_stu on Twitter:

NEOWISE guide from mars_stu on Twitter
NEOWISE guide from mars_stu on Twitter

Thanks for the question, Linda! Here’s a great article on all this from Forbes. I highly recommend this read for more pics and instructions!

Enjoy and please Click2pin NEOWISE if you get a nice pic!

Frank

Email me and follow me on Facebook!


About the Author: