MEXICO - Comet NEOWISE: Catch It While You Can!

If you are in the northern hemisphere, you have a once-in-6,800-year opportunity to observe Comet NEOWISE – with nothing more than your eyes.

To see the comet, go outside early in the morning, about an hour before sunlight appears on the horizon, and face toward the Northeast. Hold your fist out at arm’s length (see image, right). Align the lower part of your fist with the horizon. The comet will be visible about halfway between the horizon and the top of your fist.

The comet is visible from Earth because sunlight reflects from the gas and dust it gives off as it is warmed by the Sun. Its current location, relatively near both Earth and the Sun, makes it appear bright to us. The comet appears at approximately magnitude 2 to 2.5, bright enough to see from most places in the Northern hemisphere, even under heavily light-polluted skies as long as you have an unobstructed view of the northeastern horizon. 

Some skilled observers have reported that – once you spot it with binoculars – you can remove them and see the comet with the unaided eye. Using binoculars or other optical aid is a must, though, if you want to see this comet’s split tail. The comet is called C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE). 

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