Get us in your inbox

The Neowise Comet over the Uinta Mountains, Utah, USA
Photograph: Shutterstock

Here’s how to see the ‘very bright’ Neowise comet this month

The comet, also known as C/2020 F3, won’t fly past Earth again for another 6,000 years

Ellie Walker-Arnott
Written by
Ellie Walker-Arnott

Not got much going on right now? Well, head outside after dark for some celestial entertainment.

There’s a bright comet streaking through the sky this month. And if you miss it, you miss it – it won’t appear again for another 6,000 years. 

The comet, which was named C/2020 F3 when scientists first spotted it in March this year using the Neowise space telescope, will be flying past Earth and be visible in the skies during July. It was only visible using a large telescope when it was discovered, but it’s currently bright enough for earthlings to see without any equipment. Binoculars or a camera might help you get a good look at its impressive tail, though. 

‘It was very bright,’ Ray Brooks from the Arizona Sky Village, one of the best place to stargaze in North America, told after a recent sighting. ‘If the comet were in dark skies at a decent elevation, it would be a spectacular naked-eye object.’

View this post on Instagram

Comet Neowise C/2020 F3 rising over the Sangre de Cristo mountains near Taos, New Mexico - 4:15am my alarm went off. I walked to the front door, half hoping it was cloudy to the east. It was clear. So I started setting up my telescope. I heard that you’d need a scope or binoculars to view this comet. I got it aligned and ready to use in about 15 minutes. I put in the coordinates of the comet and it slewed right to the only clouds low on the east. I knew it’d be rising in a few minutes so I waited. I got some water and came back out to see the comet’s tail rising over the clouds! I watched it rise in the dawn sky, first it’s tail, then nucleus. Of course, I looked in the telescope, but it was amazing to observe even with the naked eye. I woke my g/f up to enjoy the show and we watched it until the rising Sun’s light overtook it. I can’t recall seeing the tail of a comet since 1997’s Hale-Bopp. - If you take nothing away from this post I hope it’s the motivation to wake up early, look to the east and see this cosmic spectacle for yourself. A telescope or binoculars would enhance your experience but this comet is stunning to the naked eye. - This image was created with no special gear or tricks. Just a camera, 300mm lens, and a tripod. #comet #astronomy #sunrise #neowise #milkywaychasers #natgeo #space #ig_astrophotography #comethunter #stars #stargazing #nightscaper #astrophotography #natgeospace #dawn #amatuerastronomy #trending #clouds #newmexicotrue #newmexicomagazine #nmigers #astrophotographer #longexpo #cosmos #nightskyphotography #sonyalpha #bealpha #bestvintagelens #a7riii #taos

A post shared by Michael Hawkins (@mikehawkins) on

There are plenty of opportunities to spot it in the next few weeks: throughout mid-July you’ll be able to catch it at dusk, and it will come closest to Earth on July 23. But it seems this month is your only chance. According to EarthSky, it ‘might be visible again from Earth, but not until around the year 8,786!’ 

Find out how you can spot it wherever you are in the world here. Happy hunting! 

Love stargazing? Here are the best places for stargazing in the UK and ace places to stargaze in Singapore.  

You may also like
You may also like