Rare comet NEOWISE will be visible from India today, before disappearing for 6,800 years

Spotting a comet crossing the sky can be a fascinating sight. As of sunset today, July 14, comet C / 2020 F3 NEOWISE will become visible to all, and should be visible even to the naked eye. The rare comet is expected to remain visible from India for a period of 20 days, after which the fuzzy comet is expected to disappear and therefore require binoculars or a small telescope to be spotted.

What makes comet NEOWISE a particularly exotic sighting is its age – the comet is believed to contain intergalactic particles that it picked up on its travels across the universe for over 4 billion years, and its approach to Earth – the next time NEOWISE is expected to approach Earth after 6,800 years, according to data from the US space exploration agency, NASA.

Comet NEOWISE takes its name from NASA’s Near Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission to observe interstellar objects. It was discovered by NEOWISE’s infrared channel telescopes earlier this year, in March 2020, and filed under its nomenclature name C / 2020 F3. Three months later, NEOWISE captured the comet’s near-Sun approach on July 3, which in itself is a rare event.

Continuing its trajectory, NEOWISE is expected to approach Earth from today, July 14. From India, the comet will become visible in the northwestern sky just after sunset for 15 to 20 minutes, and sky watchers will be able to spot the blazing trail of Comet NEOWISE even with the naked eye. Observation will remain possible for about 20 days, after which the comet’s trail will ignite in deep space.

What makes Comet F3 NEOWISE 2020 especially special is the way it reacted to its close approach to the sun. Its proximity to the Sun scorched the outer layers of the comet, due to which dust, gas, and debris began to erupt from its icy mass that NASA claims to be 3 miles (4.8 km) wide. . However, the comet has retained most of its fiery mass, but the forces will likely create an awe-inspiring view of the fireworks as NEOWISE crosses the sky at dusk.

In mid-August, the C / 2020 F3 NEOWISE should ignite in the depths of our solar system, and finally move away into the mysterious depths of our galaxy. Given its rare orbit and approach to Earth, be sure to use your smartphone’s compasses to gaze up at the northwestern sky as the sun sets in India for a sight that is sure to be repeated. not in our lifetime.