How To Spot Comet NEOWISE

This is a photo of comet NEOWISE I was able to capture on the morning of July 12, 2020 from Warwick, Rhode Island just before sunrise, 4:30 a.m. local time. (Credit: Jason Major)

Info from NASA on July 14, 2020:

Observers in the Northern Hemisphere are hoping to catch a glimpse of Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) as it zips through the inner solar system before it speeds away into the depths of space. [Editor’s note: many already have!] Discovered on March 27, 2020 by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission, Comet NEOWISE is putting on a dazzling display for skywatchers before it disappears, not to be seen again for another 6,800 years.

For those hoping to catch a glimpse of Comet NEOWISE before it’s gone, there are several observing opportunities over the coming days when it will become increasingly visible shortly after sunset in the northwest sky.

If you’re looking at the sky without the help of observation tools, Comet NEOWISE will likely look like a fuzzy star with a bit of a tail, so using binoculars or a small telescope is recommended to get the best views of this object.

For those hoping to see Comet NEOWISE for themselves, here’s what to do:

  • Find a spot away from city lights with an unobstructed view of the sky

  • Just after sunset, look below the Big Dipper in the northwest sky

  • If you have them, bring binoculars or a small telescope to get the best views of this dazzling display

Each night, the comet will continue rising increasingly higher above the northwestern horizon as illustrated in the below graphic:

The location of Comet NEOWISE just after sunset from July 15 through 23. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

For more information watch a NASA Live session on YouTube about seeing Comet NEOWISE from 3:00 p.m. on July 15:

Source: NASA

Good luck comet hunting! If you’re trying to get pictures, here are some tips on photographing comets.

Main image: Comet NEOWISE photographed from Washington DC on Sunday, July 12, 2020 by NASA photographer Bill Ingalls.

PS if you’re looking to see NEOWISE from the southern hemisphere, my astronomer friend Rami in Australia posted the below on Twitter: