Catch The NEOWISE Comet Shooting Through The Skies Before It Disappears For Another 6,800 Years

Ashlyn Davis Ashlyn Davis


Here’s how you can see the NEOWISE comet from L.A.

Comet NEOWISE (also known as Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE) has been zooming through the inner solar system creating a dazzling sky show for Northern Hemisphere observers. Avid photographers and skywatchers have been following the movements, hoping to catch a glimpse before it vanished into the dark depths of space for another 6,800 years! [Featured Image: u/kmk1986 ]

The comet was discovered by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission in late March this year. After a close encounter with the sun, which has created its glowing trail, the comet is heading back into the outer solar system. As it travels, it will continue to rise further above the northwestern horizon (as seen in the chart below) make it more visible for a longer period.

Skychart showing the location of Comet C/2020 F3 just after sunset, July 15 through 23. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltec

If you’ve been keeping a close eye on it over the previous week, then you’ve probably been waking up at 4:00 am to see it very briefly. From this week, however, you’ll be able to see it using binoculars or a small telescope (or even the naked eye) if you look to the northwest skies just after sunset. The best time to see it will be on July 22, when it makes its closest approach to Earth of 64 million miles away.

Here are some tips for those wishing to see it from NASA:

  • 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

If it all gets to confusing you can always use an app called Stellarium, it’ll tell you where to look based on your location.

If you’re looking to capture this once-in-a-lifetime sight you can follow these photography tips and tag us on Instagram and use the hashtag #mysecretla to be featured!

It’s a busy week in the sky this month, this Sunday you can catch another dazzling display where you’ll be able to see five different planets in the sky at once!

Nature & Wellness