Who’s looking for some free, out-of-this-world family fun during a pandemic? You, probably, if you’re like most moms. This one has an educational component as well, so listen up! It’s a win-win-win!
July 13th, 14th and 15th, you can see the NEOWISE comment just after dusk with the naked eye—no telescope or binoculars required!
I remember seeing Halley’s comet in (ahem) 1987 when I was 10 years old and it was an exciting and obviously unforgettable experience! So I’m gonna grab my kids for a comet-watch tonight and hope to give them a similar memory.
But let’s back up—what even IS the NEOWISE comet?
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Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) was discovered on March 27, 2020, from some 326 miles (525 km) above Earth’s surface by NEOWISE, the Near Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, which is a space telescope launched by NASA in 2009. The comet was closest to the sun on July 3, 2020, passing at about 26.7 million miles (43 million km) from the sun, or a bit closer than the average distance from the sun to Mercury. Observers are still reporting seeing it, and so it appears to have survived the close encounter with our star. Since then, comet NEOWISE has been quite visible during sunset. If it remains relatively bright, it might be easier to see in the second half of July during evening dusk, because, at that time, it will appear somewhat higher in the sky. The comet will probably be best seen in binoculars. However, if you don’t have binocs but do have a good camera, a great alternative is to capture a few seconds long exposure image of the approximate area of the sky. Try at different magnification or zoom settings, and the results should reveal the comet’s nice tail. Finding comet NEOWISE is simple: just try to spot Venus (it’s the second brightest object in the night sky) and look to the left, where the star Capella is located. The comet will be below Capella during the mornings of the first half of July, but moving to the left (north) each day. #science #astronomy #astrophysics #space #comet #asteroid #universe #solarsystem #sun #earth #mercury #cometneowise #sunset #stargazing #nightsky
Comet NEOWISE is a friendly neighborhood comet (only 326 miles above the earth!) known by the less-exciting but proper name, “Comet C/2020 F3.” It was discovered quite recently, in March of this year, thanks to the NASA space telescope NEOWISE (Near Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer).
Bottom line, it’s fast, it’s bright, and it’s gonna be really cool to see in the skies above the horizon for the next three days!
Here’s what you need to know to get a good view of the NEOWISE comet:
- NEOWISE will be most visible at dusk which is just after sunset. Don’t wait too long or you might miss it!
- You’ll be able to see it low over the northwest horizon. Grab a compass if you need to so you will be looking in the right direction.
- If you live in a big city with a lot of light pollution, you might have a hard time seeing it. So take a little drive to a darker place if you do.
- If you know anything about astronomy, look for Venus first. It’s typically the brightest object in the sky. Then, look to the left for star Capella, and look again to the left to spot NEOWISE!
To get inspired and get the kids excited, check out the #cometneowise hashtag on Instagram for some incredible images! I can’t wait to watch tonight . . . who’s going to virtually join me?
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It’s not a perfect shot, but it’s the best one was able to get with a shakey tripod (no matter how many times I tried keeping it still) and honestly I still think it’s cool af. First time I’ve ever seen a comet and I also wanted to take the time to enjoy the experience. Literally just me, the wind, and my thoughts. It was super peaceful and other worldly to see. 10/10 would do again. #neowise