“A newly-discovered comet is giving skywatchers quite the show during the month of July,” reports CBS News:
Astronomers discovered the comet, known as Comet C2020 F3 NEOWISE, back in March. It was named for the NASA mission that spotted it, for the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer… But astronomers knew they found something unique when they spotted Neowise. On July 3, Neowise was closer to the sun than the orbit of Mercury, coming dangerously close to breaking apart. The sun heated up much of the comet’s icy makeup, erupting in a large debris trail of gas and dust.
Measuring about 3 miles across, Neowise is considered a fairly large comet — providing skywatchers with a spectacular view from Earth. The comet, which has a bright opulent tail, has been putting on a stunning show in the early hours before sunrise in the Northern Hemisphere… But late sleepers need not worry — the comet will start appearing in the evening, just after sunset, starting Saturday.
To view it, people in the Northern Hemisphere can look to the northwestern sky, just below Ursa Major, commonly known as the Big Dipper constellation. Scientists say the comet will be visible across the Northern Hemisphere for about another month.
The comet is made up of material dating back 4.6 billion years, to the origins of our solar system, according to the article. “The event is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience — the comet takes about 6,800 years to complete its path around the sun, according to NASA…”
“NASA says it will be one of the brightest comets this century.”