A massive burning “icy snowball, Comet NEOWISE,” was closest to the Earth on Wednesday night. This was before its orbit began to take it out into the solar system. It will take about 6,000 years before it passes like this again. The comet, which is called C/2020 F3 NEOWISE, using a formula for when it was discovered, is about 100 million kilometers away. The heavenly glow that has been observable from Earth with the naked eye for about ten days was made possible by the sun.
The solid, icy and rocky surface of the comet has been converted to gases after getting so hot. The gases glow bright and light up the debris that is falling off the comet. This has created a tail as it moves through the sky. But it was cooling off as the comet continually moved further from the sun, and those hot gases went dim. According to astronomer Chris Vaughan, who is a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Toronto Centre, earthlings are lucky to have been able to spot the comet at all.
NASA has stated that the comet was formed near the birth of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago and is around five kilometers wide. Chris hopes to see the comet spurring a whole new generation of astronomy buffs as it will be noticeable for many more weeks with binoculars and then telescopes. Brett Gladman, who holds a Canada Research Chair in planetary astronomy at the University of British Columbia, has never before seen a comet with his naked eye. He stated that he went to Vancouver’s Stanley Park to see NEOWISE a little over a week ago. After that, he took pictures of it while on vacation in the interior of B.C. Brett has tried to see comets before, but it was too cloudy.
Gladman indicated that to see the comet, one should have got out into the darkest night sky at around 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. Until Mike Kukucska viewed his Nikon’s viewfinder on July 13 at about 11:30 p.m, he wasn’t sure he had captured the comet. He said it was streaking over the idyllic barn in Dundas, Ont. Kukucska got into long-exposure photography when he fell in love with capturing the Milky Way. He owns a set-designing and manufacturing company in Dundas and has been out every clear night since NEOWISE came into view about ten days ago.