The C/2020 F3 comet was discovered in March
A photographer in Italy captured the image of a lifetime when he snapped a picture showing two astronomical phenomena, including a streaking comet and “night-shining” clouds.
Atop the nearly 11,500 foot-high Hochfeiler mountain in the South Tyrol Alps in Italy, Martin Rietze captured the image of the NEOWISE comet and the Noctilucent clouds, SWNS reports.
The comet, also known as C/2020 F3, was discovered in March by NASA’s NEOWISE space telescope.
The NEOWISE comet seen above noctilucent clouds taken from the Hochfeiler mountain in the South Tyrol alps in Italy on July 8. (Credit: SWNS)
Noctilucent clouds occur when astronomical light reflects on ice in the clouds.
The comet, which can be observed with the naked eye, has been visible since July 7, NASA said on its website.
“Through about the middle of the month, the comet is visible around 10 degrees above the northeastern horizon (the width of your outstretched fist) in the hour before dawn,” the space agency added. “From mid-July on, it’s best viewed as an evening object, rising increasingly higher above the northwestern horizon.”
NASA notes that the comet’s closest approach to earth will be on July 22, at a distance of about 64 million miles.
“The comet takes about 6,800 years to make one lap around its long, stretched out orbit, so it won’t visit the inner solar system again for many thousands of years,” the agency explained on its website.