Look up! NEOWISE comet’s best viewing occurs this week

IMAGE: Neowise comet
The comet Neowise is seen from near Effingham, Kan., Monday, July 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)Source: Associated Press

Astronomy buffs will get a treat in the night sky the next few weeks as Comet NEOWISE passes us by on its way back to the outer solar system. 

While the comet will be visible for the next few weeks, those at Space.com feel the best time will come during the July 14th-19th stretch, which is this Tuesday through Sunday. 

Don’t miss your chance to catch a glimpse. If you don’t catch the comet this time around, you would have to wait another 6800 years, making this a once in a lifetime opportunity!

The comet, which is about 3 miles across in size, has already passed by the sun and while it will be dimming as it continues its journey, it will be a slow dimming process as it now approaches Earth. After moves past its closest point to Earth (64 million miles away) on July 22nd, the dimming will become more rapid as the comet moves away from both the sun and Earth. 

It has been visible in the morning, but by July 18th, it will only appear 5 degrees above the horizon at twilight and it will no longer be visible in the morning just a few days later. 

Despite the morning visibility diminishing, the visibility will get better in the evening with visibility 10 degrees above the horizon starting tonight (July 14th), doubling to 20 degrees by July 19th. The moon phase should cooperate as well, with a waning crescent phase. Tanger Black – US11.5-12 | EU46The Softest & Comfortable Indestructible Shoes The all-in-one solution to work shoes that provide a perfect blend of comfort, style and protection. Thanks to the advancements we’ve made in footwear…Ad By Indestructible ShoesSee More

For best viewing at night, start looking about one hour after sunset just over the northwest horizon. Of course, give yourself the most ideal conditions possible for viewing, such as getting away from light pollution and higher cloud coverage. While the comet will be visible with the naked eye, binoculars or other optical aides will enhance the view. 

Keep an eye on the forecast for viewing by checking out our daily forecast article