Comet Neowise comes closest to Earth


The celestial phenomenon may have feared people in the Neolithic Age. Every 5000 to 7000 years the Comet C / 2020 F3 aka Neowise passes so close to Earth that it can be seen with the naked eye.

The phenomenon in the vastness of the solar system has been visible in the sky for days. Coming Thursday (July 23), the comet is closest to Earth. Then it is still a good 100 million kilometers away from the blue planet, according to the Association of Star Friends in Germany, which is about two thirds of the average distance from the Earth to the sun.

Even if Neowise is slowly fading, he can still be seen in the night sky, according to the chairman of Sternfreunde, Sven Melchert. With the naked eye you can see a medium-light, fuzzy body with a pale train upwards. That is the comet’s tail. With binoculars, of course, this can be seen even better. By the end of July, it would then fade away completely.

While the weather up until Wednesday night offers even better chances of few clouds and a better view, on Thursday evening according to the German Weather Service, curious sky observers will probably only have the chance to catch a glimpse of the comet in southern Germany. In the middle of the country there could be cloud gaps in the meantime. The north and west would clearly be under the influence of low pressure. Sunset is on Thursday between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.

And where do curious people have to look? After dark, look for a place with the best possible view to the north, where it travels beneath the constellation of the Big Dipper. The cell phone can help with a compass function. Apps also promise to track down the phenomenon.

“Comets are tail stars, chunks of space a few kilometers in size, which consist of rubble, water and dust,” says the star friends. If a comet comes close to the sun, it is literally thawed and the comet’s tail is formed. Many comets would not survive this thawing, but Neowise was a “larger caliber”. Neowise was only discovered in March of this year by the reactivated space telescope of the same name.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200721-99-866576 / 2

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Copyright © dpa – German Press Agency 2020


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