Here’s The Rockford Area’s Best Time To View Comet Neowise
When something shows up in the sky once every 7000 years or so, it's worth heading outside for a look. And, unlike most celestial events, this one has an extended viewing window.
That "something" is a comet named Neowise (or, if you prefer, C/2020 F3).
Joe Dredge and I were surprised to learn that Neowise was only discovered back in March by scientists/astronomers using the Neowise space telescope. We were under the wildly incorrect assumption that astronomers weren't often surprised by outer space visitors just sort of showing up.
Then again, it was through our galactic neighborhood 6,800 years ago, so you can see how its schedule may have slipped through the cracks of the scientific community.
Now, it's visible from your Rockford area neighborhood for about the next two weeks or so, before it heads back out into the far reaches of our solar system.
And, according to the experts, it's brighter than Halley's comet, meaning it can be seen with the naked eye. To catch its tail, you may need binoculars or a decent telescope.
Here's the best part. You don't have to get up really early or stay up late to view Neowise. After sunset, look toward the Northwestern sky just below the Big Dipper. Neowise will keep getting closer to us up until it reaches its nearest distance to Earth of about 65 million miles on July 22nd.
Scientists aboard the International Space Station got an incredible look at Neowise on July 5th, and they took a time-lapse series of photos. Those photos were then downloaded by Sean Doran, a graphic artist in the UK, who edited them together to make this spectacular 4K video: