Stargazers in the northern hemisphere are in for a treat this month! A recently discovered comet will be visible throughout the month of July just before dark. Those in the northern hemisphere need only look toward the northwestern horizon shortly after sunset. The comet is also visible in the early morning toward the northeastern horizon. Unfortunately, those in the southern hemisphere will miss out on this one.
How To View Comet NEOWISE
Comet NEOWISE will be visible to stargazers until early August. Its closest approach will occur on July 22nd. Although it’s possible to see with the naked eye, it’s best to view the comet with binoculars or a small telescope. If viewing with the naked eye, however, Comet NEOWISE will appear as a slightly blurry star with a barely visible tail. Travel well outside of city limits in order to avoid light pollution. Find an unobstructed view of the northwestern horizon and find the comet just below the Big Dipper constellation. An app like Sky Guide (available on Android and Apple) will help you easily track it. From now until its passing at the beginning of August, Comet NEOWISE will gradually appear higher in the sky.
Comet NEOWISE was discovered just this year at the end of March 2020. Its name comes from the space telescope that discovered it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view Comet NEOWISE because it will not enter the inner solar system again for another 6,800 years. Also, this is the brightest comet viewable with the naked eye since Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997. Previously it was only visible during the early morning as it made its closest approach to the Sun. But now, stargazers will be able to see it at a more convenient time just after sunset.