Neowise Comet Spotting: Summer Fun July 2020

This comet only comes around about every 6000 years, so it is worth the early wake up call or sunset drive.  

The Neowise comet is visible to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere at dusk and before dawn. Here are a few details on how to spot it.  We were able to see it in New England around 9:30/10pm last night and for a while after that.

1. Find the Big Dipper (just after sunset as the stars come out)

Here is a chart of where it will appear on each date in July. Locate the Big Dipper and look down towards the horizon.

Star chart with Big Dipper and line showing comet locations on 7 days.

Chart credit to this site, which has more detail on other locations. It should be visible until the 23 of July (additional image below)

2. Check the weather

The comet will be most visible for the next few days and you will need clear skies and an unobstructed view.  

3. Grab your glasses and binoculars

Neowise is visible to the naked eye, but since it is close to the horizon and appears just after sunset, you make need to let your eyes adjust in order to see it.  If you need glasses to see far away, you will want to wear them!

4. Find a field or high deck

Unobstructed views of the horizon and low light pollution will help your chances.

Here is the best article I have found to show the trajectory. 

More information on the comet:

It was discovered in March of this year and by July 2020, it is bright enough to be visible to the naked eye. It is one of the brightest visible to observers in the northern hemisphere since Comet Hale–Bopp in 1997. 

For observers in the North Hemisphere, in the morning, the comet appears low above the north-eastern horizon, below Capella. In the evening, the comet can be seen low in the north-western sky.

Most of us know Halley's Comet which comes every 75 years and was last visible in 1986! 

Stonehenge photo credit and bottom photo @NASA.

Lake photo credit @ Ben Yokel, in Minnesota