C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) - ImagesGram

C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE)

C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) or Comet NEOWISE is a long period comet with a near-parabolic orbit discovered on March 27, 2020, by astronomers during the NEOWISE mission of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer(WISE) space telescope. At that time, it was an 18th-magnitude object, located 2 AU (300 million km; 190 million mi) away from the Sun and 1.7 AU (250 million km; 160 million mi) away from Earth.

By July 2020, it was bright enough to be visible to the naked eye. It is one of the brightest comets in the northern hemisphere since Comet Hale–Bopp in 1997. Under dark skies, it can be clearly seen with the naked eye and might remain visible to the naked eye throughout most of July 2020, at least until July 23, the point of the comet's closest approach to Earth. Prior to that date, the comet will be getting closer to Earth as it moves farther away from the Sun. As of July 18, the comet was about magnitude 3. Binoculars are required near urban areas to locate the comet.

For observers in the northern hemisphere, in the morning, the comet appears very low above the north-eastern horizon, below Capella. In the evening, the comet can be seen low in the north-western sky. The comet can be seen in the morning and evening because it is circumpolar north of the 45th parallel north. On July 17, Comet NEOWISE entered the constellation of Ursa Major, below the asterism of the Big Dipper (The Plough).