NEOWISE comet nears earth, here's how to watch it in India

The comet was first observed by NASA on March 27, 2020.

NEOWISE comet nears earth, here's how to watch it in India
Photo: Twitter/@NASAJPL

New Delhi: A new comet named NEOWISE discovered by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is being witnessed by several skywatchers.

According to NASA, "Right now, the comet is relatively easy to observe with binoculars or a small telescope, provided you have a clear view toward the horizon."

They stated that as of July 7, the comet was easily seen through binoculars, with some observers able to see it with unaided eyes.

NASA said that this week viewing opportunities switch from northeast before dawn to northwest just after sunset. 

Comet NEOWISE's that was first observed by NASA on March 27, 2020, will witness its closest approach to Earth is on July 22 at a distance of about 103 million kilometres. 

The comet is visible around 10 degrees above the northeastern horizon in the hour before dawn. 

From mid-July on, it's best viewed as an evening object, rising increasingly higher above the northwestern horizon. 

NASA stated that the observers at lower latitudes will see the comet lower in the sky, while it will appear higher for observers farther north.

Dr Subhendu Pattnaik, Deputy Director at the Pathani Samanta Planetarium in Odisha told ANI news, "From July 14, C/2020 F3 will be clearly visible in the north-western sky. It will be visible after sunset for around 20 minutes for the next 20 days. People can observe it from naked eyes."

"A pair of binoculars or a small telescope will enhance its visibility," he added.

NASA also stated the comet will not return to Earth's skies for the next 6,800 years.