How to Best See Comet NEOWISE – Before It’s Gone for Another 6,800 Years

Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE

Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) in the predawn skies on July 9, 2020, over Deer Valley, Utah. Credit: NASA

Observers in the Northern Hemisphere are hoping to catch a glimpse of Comet NEOWISE as it zips through the inner solar system before it speeds away into the depths of space. Discovered on March 27, 2020, by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission, Comet NEOWISE is putting on a dazzling display for skywatchers before it disappears, not to be seen again for another 6,800 years. 

For those hoping to catch a glimpse of  Comet NEOWISE before it’s gone, there are several observing opportunities over the coming days when it will become increasingly visible shortly after sunset in the northwest sky. If you’re looking at the sky without the help of observation tools, Comet NEOWISE will likely look like a fuzzy star with a bit of a tail, so using binoculars or a small telescope is recommended to get the best views of this object. 

For those hoping to see Comet Neowise for themselves, here’s what to do: 

  • Find a spot away from city lights with an unobstructed view of the sky

  • Just after sunset, look below the Big Dipper in the northwest sky

  • If you have them, bring binoculars or a small telescope to get the best views of this dazzling display

Each night, the comet will continue rising increasingly higher above the northwestern horizon as illustrated in the below graphic:

Skychart Comet C/2020 F3

Skychart showing the location of Comet C/2020 F3 just after sunset, July 15 through 23. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Want to learn more about Comet NEOWISE? Take a look at some of these resources: 

Read these skywatching Tips from NASA.

Learn these tips and tricks on how to photograph comets and meteor showers.

Take a look at these images of Comet NEOWISE captured by NASA missions: 

Learn more about comet science, how Comet NEOWISE was discovered, and how you can spot it in the sky in this episode of NASA Science Live:

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