12 July 2020 20:31
That's because the Comet NEOWISE - also called C/2020 F3 - has become visible to the naked eye for the first time in decades. Pictures of the comet have been taken from Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, and other places nearby in Essex and Cambridgeshire. Across the northern hemisphere - including the UK - the comet is visible near the horizon just before sunrise and just after sunset. Throughout the month, NEOWISE is making it's way across the sky moving westward. It will be at its closest to the UK On July 23.
To get the best look at the comet, you'll have to find somewhere without any trees or buildings and a clear horizon - so you may have to get up quite high. Sign up for regular updates from WalesOnline Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email People across the UK should be able to see an impressive comet in the night sky as it heads for its closest approach to the Earth. Comet C/2020 F3 - also known as Neowise - will be clearly visible wherever you can get a view of the horizon and a clear night sky. Neowise was only recently discovered by scientists at NASA and is currently heading towards the Earth having passed the sun. After it's closest pass near our home planet on July 23 it will plunge deeper into the solar system.
After that it will continue to move left across the sky each day. By July 25, the comet will appear 30 degrees up from the west-northwest horizon as darkness falls. And on July 30-31, the comet will be passing just to the north of the fine star cluster of Coma Berenices or Berenice's Hair. NASA said: "A comet has suddenly become visible to the unaided eye. Comet C/2020 F3 (Neowise) was discovered in late March and brightened as it reached its closest approach to the Sun, inside the orbit of Mercury, late last week.
He said: "The comet is now an awesome object visible to the naked eye and best observed late in the evening in the north-west or in early pre-dawn at 3am, where it will appear in the north-east horizon. "I urge your readers to go out after 11.30pm and look north-west for the comet which has visited our solar system and wont be back for over 6,000 years." Trailing behind the comet is a shining streak of light made up of "noctilucent clouds". They are a cloud-like phenomena in the upper atmosphere of Earth, made up of ice crystals and are only visible during astronomical twilight. A comet is an icy, small body that, when passing close to the Sun, warms and begins to release gases, in a process called outgassing. This produces a visible atmosphere and sometimes also a tail. Sign up to our newsletter for daily updates and breaking news Sign up here! Thank you for subscribing See our privacy notice Invalid Email A stunning sight can be seen in the skies over Cambridgeshire this week. Comet NEOWISE, also called C/2020 F3, has suddenly become visible to the naked eye and has already been spotted in our county. Last night, local photographer Andy Green captured the comet over the Fens with some high-quality snaps. Andy said: "I was out late last night and this morning taking some images of the comet. For people in the UK and our area of Cambs it should be visible for some time to come, easily spotted low down to the north after 11pm. "It's visible with just your eyes too and in a pair of binoculars it looks spectacular." How can I see the comet? The comet will be visible in the northern hemisphere, including the UK, just before sunrise and just after sunset. NEOWISE is moving westwards across the sky throughout this month. The comet will come closest to Earth on July 23 - though it will still be about 64 million miles away. Given that it's close to the horizon, you'll need a view that isn't obscured by buildings or trees in order to see it. NASA has said: "Observers might be able to see the comet's central core, or nucleus, with the naked eye in dark skies; using binoculars will give viewers a good look at the fuzzy comet and its long, streaky tail. "As it speeds away from the Sun, Comet NEOWISE will begin to make its appearance in the evening sky shortly after sunset on July 11 or July 12, depending on local conditions." Image copyright Jeff Overs Image caption The comet will pass closest to Earth on 23 July A comet has been captured on camera streaking across the skies over Stonehenge. Comet Neowise has been spotted by stargazers across the UK and around the world as it heads past Earth. It was discovered in late March and became one of the few comets in the 21st century that can be seen with the naked eye as it approached the sun. The comet will be closest to the Earth on 23 July but will still be about 64 million miles (103 million km) away. Image copyright Jeff Overs Image caption Neowise is around 400 times farther away than the moon, but can still be seen with the naked eye Jeff Overs, who travelled to Stonehenge in Wiltshire to photograph the comet, described the moment as "astonishing". "It was perfect conditions, clear and crisp and the comet was right above the stones," he said. "You can see it with the naked eye but it took me by surprise It did look spectacular. I won't see another comet like that in my lifetime." The interplanetary iceberg will be visible throughout July in the northern hemisphere, moving in a westerly direction across the sky. From the middle of the month it will be visible low in the sky towards the north, throughout the night. It will then head out of sight as it travels back to the outer solar system.