Space enthusiast Seán Doran downloaded 550 long-exposure photos taken from the International Space Station and compiled them into a real-time video. The result: Comet NEOWISE from ISS [ 4K ]. You can see the comet rise at around 3 minutes.
C/2020 F3 won’t pass Earth again for another 6,800 years, so if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, the comet should now be visible near the northeastern horizon just after sunset. It will appear higher in the sky throughout the month, passing closest to Earth on July 22nd. From How To Share Comet NEOWISE With Your Kids:
Use the maps provided to help you find comet NEOWISE. If you’re bringing young children ask them later to make a drawing of what they saw with crayons or colored pencils. What a nice keepsake that would make. Talk to them about comets. People used to be afraid comets were portents of disaster. Now that we know what they are — small asteroid-like objects but made of dirty ice instead of rock — we can appreciate them for their beauty. Every time a comet goes around the sun some of that ice vaporizes in our star’s terrible heat to form a tail that lights up like the dust that rises from a dusty road. And it’s currently shining from over 80 million miles (129 million km) away. What a big place the solar system is with room for one star, at least eight planets and billions of comets and asteroids!
And from Astronomy Picture of the Day:
Comet NEOWISE was discovered on March 27, 2020 by a space telescope called NEOWISE, the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. According to CalTech’s NEOWISE Project:
The spacecraft was launched in December 2009 and was originally named the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). WISE was not designed to study asteroids and comets and is now long past its expected lifetime of 7 months.
Watch this next: Space Rocks: Comets, asteroids, meteors, and meteorites.
Also: What is a comet made of? Dara Ó Briain’s Science Club demonstrates.
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