Comet NEOWISE which has been a center of attraction for all the astrophotographers and space enthusiasts is now traveling to the closest to Earth on July 22-23, 2020. It will pass at some 64 million miles (103 million km) from our planet.
Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) was discovered on March 27, 2020 – not from Earth’s surface – but from by a space observatory some 326 miles (525 km) above Earth’s surface. It’s named for its discoverer, the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, aka NEOWISE, which was launched by NASA in 2009.
Comet NEOWISE 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. Unlike some comets, it survived the close encounter with our star and went on to become widely seen by binocular observers and astrophotographers.
From its infrared signature, it is estimated that its nucleus is about 3 miles (5 km) and is covered with sooty, dark particles leftover from its formation near the birth of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago. Comet NEOWISE will not return for some 6,800 years.
The comet is visible to the naked eyes from July 14 to August 4 and is visible after sunset at North-West corner.