PHOTOS: 'Once in a decade' comet continues to light up the night sky

John Luke Kieper | July 12, 2020 in Photography

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The bright comet known as "Neowise" continues to light up the night sky, and those staying up late enough are seeing something quite fantastic. 

According to "The Backyard Astronomer" Gary Boyle, Neowise was first discovered on March 27. It is now visible in the evening sky without a telescope. 

Photo Credit: Gary Boyle

Neowise was first observed by a space telescope while NASA was looking for near-earth objects that could potentially impact the planet. Boyle explained that the Neowise was more than half the height of Mount Everest, meaning it is a "once in a decade" comet. 

"Every year astronomers both amateur and professional observe 5 to 10 comets with telescopes," wrote Boyle. "In most cases, they show a green nucleus from the sublimation of frozen chemicals such as ammonia and others. The extremely faint tail is seen when photographed but all comets are different in composition and appearance as Neowise does not appear green."

"The last bright comet that was visible to the naked eye for the whole world to see was Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997. And like Neowise, it too had a blue ion or gas tail and a fan-shaped dust tail created when comets round the sun as this one did on July 3 at a close distance of 43 million kilometres."

Photo Credit: Gary Boyle

Boyle went on to mention that Neowise would be closest to earth on its way out of our solar system on July 22 at a distance of 103 million kilometres. It will start to fade with a shortening tail as it retreats from the sun's heat and back to the depths of space. 

Are you staying up to watch this beauty? 

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