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Neowise: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity

By Khrishnav Parasuraman


Even people who do not have any relationships with astronomy will find that not looking at comet NEOWISE is very hard. The comet was first spotted on March 27, 2020. This comet sighting was part of a project called NEOWISE that tries to spot asteroids that might destroy human life. This comet is the brightest in the sky since 1997. In 1997, the Comet Hale-Bopp was in the sky.


This comet is very special for two reasons. One, it has a very long orbit that is 6,800 years. Another reason is that most comets plunge toward the sun and then melt, but this comet, due to its large size, survived its closest visit to the sun on July 3, 2020. It was about 27 million miles away from the sun.


One very cool feature about NEOWISE is that it has two distinct tails. One  is made of gas, and the other is made of rocky dust.


To find this amazing comet look, under the big dipper. People without binoculars or a telescope will only be able to see the tail, so having binoculars or a telescope will improve the view.


Sources:

https://www.npr.org/2020/07/15/891536360/good-news-this-comet-wont-cause-a-mass-extinction-in-2020-also-it-s-really-prett


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