published on 7 July 2020 in space

Comet NEOWISE visible in the July sky

July nights have a special surprise in store for astronomy enthusiasts: Comet C/2020 F3 Neowise which, this month, is becoming more and more luminous to the point of being visible to the naked eye and photographable. The comet was observed for the first time on March 25 from the Neowise Space Telescope. It originated in the Oort Cloud, on the edge of the Solar System and, according to experts, is the brightest comet in recent years. On July 3, it passed only 44 million kilometres from the Sun and is now approaching the Earth. The closest approach to our planet, between 22 and 23 July, will be 104 million kilometres away from us.

The comet NEOWISE photographed by Ivan Vagner on board the ISS. Credits: ivanvagner@twitter

According to current forecasts, the comet should be visible to the naked eye until 1 August 2020. Here are the times and coordinates for the whole month of July:

  • From 3 to 10 July it will be observable at dawn, low on the north-east horizon around 4 am;
  • From July 11 will be observable in the evening between 9 pm and midnight on the north-west horizon
  • From 14 July it will be circumpolar for northern Italy (until 23 July), so its path through the sky can be observed throughout the night from 9 pm on the north-west horizon,
  • From July 22-23 the comet will be at the minimum distance from Earth and will become increasingly less visible.
Eni S.p.A. - P.IVA 00905811006