Comet NEOWISE passes beyond the Earth, the photos amaze Internet users

NASA’s NEOWISE infrared space telescope discovered the comet in March.

By Associated Press | Posted by: Srimoyee Chowdhury | CAP CANAVERAL, Florida

UPDATE JUL 11, 2020 at 9:54 am IST

A newly discovered comet traverses the Earth, providing a breathtaking nighttime spectacle after buzzing the sun and widening its tail.

Comet NEOWISE – the brightest comet visible in the northern hemisphere for a quarter of a century – swept through Mercury’s orbit a week ago. Its proximity to the sun caused dust and gas to burn on its surface and create an even larger tail of debris. Now the comet is heading towards us, with a closer approach in two weeks.

NASA’s NEOWISE infrared space telescope discovered the comet in March.

Scientists involved in the mission said the comet was about 3 miles in diameter. Its core is covered with a sooty material dating back to the origin of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

The comet will be visible across the northern hemisphere until mid-August, when it returns to the outer solar system. Although it is visible to the naked eye in dark skies with little to no light pollution, binoculars are needed to see the long tail, according to NASA.

It will be about 7,000 years before the comet returns, “so I wouldn’t suggest waiting for the next pass,” said deputy principal telescope scientist Joe Masiero at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

He said it was the brightest comet since the mid-1990s for northern hemisphere astronomers.

“Stars, cities, spaceships and a comet!” he tweeted from orbit.

Internet users were surprised by this phenomenon. Here’s how they reacted:

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have already glimpsed.

From NASA Bob behnken shared a spectacular photo of the comet on social media Thursday night, showing Central Asia in the background and the space station in the foreground.

Read also | ‘Fireworks’ in space: astronaut shares incredible images of comet NEOWISE

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