Sc. & Tech.

NEOWISE comes nearer with a visibility from India

The recently discovered comet which is called C/2020 or NEOWISE will be making its closest approach to planet Earth on July 22. The comet will become visible in the north-western sky starting July 14 which is today and can be seen with a naked eye.

This was also stated by the deputy director of Pathani Samanta Planetarium in Odisha’s Bhubaneshwar. “From July 14, C/2020 F3 will be clearly visible in the north-western sky. It will be visible after sunset for around 20 minutes for the next 20 days. People can observe it with naked eyes,” Dr Subhendu Pattnaik was quoted by the news agency ANI.

The NEOWISE comet was visible starting from the hour before dawn sky and can be seen in the middle of the month. The comet can best be viewed as an evening object starting mid-July onwards, explained NASA.

“A far better viewing perspective will be available in the evening sky starting around July 14, when it will appear low in the northwest sky (20 degrees from the horizon) for around 20 minutes. In the evenings to follow, the comet will rapidly climb higher in the sky and will be visible for a longer period,” said Dr Pattnaik to ANI.

A pair of binoculars was recommended to have a better viewing experience. “Around 30th July the comet will be visible near Ursa Major (Saptarshi Mandal) at an altitude of 40 degrees and will be visible for an hour. After July it will fade away very fast and will not be visible to the unaided eye. A pair of binoculars or a small telescope will enhance its visibility,” Pattnaik told ANI.

The comet was discovered by NASA’s NEOWISE mission back in March this year and the comet will make its closest approach to Earth on July 22 – at a distance of about 103 million kilometres from Earth. The comet is already headed back toward the outer solar system.

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