Comet NEOWISE dazzles in Michiana night sky

Best viewing conditions from July 15th to the 19th
Comet NEOWISE as viewed from Estes Park, CO.
Comet NEOWISE as viewed from Estes Park, CO.(Dr. Peter Claussen)
Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 12:50 PM EDT
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For the first time in 23 years, the sky in the Northern Hemisphere is being lit up by a brilliant comet. Comet NEOWISE has already proved to be a highly illuminated and dense comet in the twilight hours, spotted near the horizon by experts as early as July 1.

In its closest pass towards the sun, or perihelion, NEOWISE came within 27.7 million miles of our solar system’s burning ball of gas. As the comet moves away from the sun, it will appear to evolve and grow to skywatchers on Earth.

The good news? Our viewing capability is going to improve in the coming days as the comet moves closer to our planet. Aim your gaze northwest just after sunset... The comet will reveal itself to you, seemingly climbing higher and higher in altitude through the weekend.

NEOWISE will be closest to Earth on July 22, before slowly departing, traveling out into deep space.

This particular comet will shine just as brightly as Polaris, the north star, from July 12 through July 17, becoming just a bit dimmer from the 17th to the 22nd of July.

There’s more good news... You don’t have to wake up early to catch this celestial sight! Comet NEOWISE will be easily visible in the evening sky, just after sunset. The best time to view the comet will be after dark on July 15-19th.

For best viewing conditions, move away from city lights, smoke, haze, and other obstructions. Binoculars can enhance your view. In terms of weather conditions, visibility will only be obstructed by cloud cover Wednesday and Sunday evenings.

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