Stunning image of Comet Neowise that looks like it’s about to crash into Earth revealed by Nasa
NASA has shared a stunning image of a comet looking like it’s about to crash into our planet.
Luckily for us, Comet Neowise is just heading past Earth at the moment and is becoming more visible as it gets closer.
This is the image Nasa shared as its Astronomy Picture of the Day[/caption]
Nasa said: “A comet has suddenly become visible to the unaided eye.
“Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) was discovered in late March and brightened as it reached its closest approach to the Sun, inside the orbit of Mercury, late last week.
“The interplanetary iceberg survived solar heating, so far, and is now becoming closer to the Earth as it starts its long trek back to the outer Solar System.
“As Comet NEOWISE became one of the few naked-eye comets of the 21st Century, word spread quickly, and the comet has already been photographed behind many famous sites and cities around the globe.
The comet is heading past Earth[/caption]
The comet pictured over Northumberland in the UK this morning[/caption]
Nasa shared the image as its Astronomy Picture of the Day.
It was captured by photographer Maroun Habib as they viewed the comet above Lebanon before sunrise just two days ago.
Nasa added: “The future brightness of Comet NEOWISE remains somewhat uncertain but the comet will likely continue to be findable not only in the early morning sky, but also next week in the early evening sky.”
The comet is set to reach its closest point to Earth on July 23.
It should be visible from the northern hemisphere this month, which includes the UK and the US.
People have reported seeing Neowise with the naked eye but binoculars will still be very useful.
It’s currently said to be visible from mid-northern latitudes just before sunrise and after sunset.
Right now, Neowise is moving westwards from the constellation of Auriga.
By mid-July it will have moved into Lynx and should be visible all night.
There are many smartphone apps that can point you in the right direction of constellations in the sky.
What’s the difference between an asteroid, meteor and comet?
Here’s what you need to know, according to Nasa…
- Asteroid: An asteroid is a small rocky body that orbits the Sun. Most are found in the asteroid belt (between Mars and Jupiter) but they can be found anywhere (including in a path that can impact Earth)
- Meteoroid: When two asteroids hit each other, the small chunks that break off are called meteoroids
- Meteor: If a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it begins to vapourise and then becomes a meteor. On Earth, it’ll look like a streak of light in the sky, because the rock is burning up
- Meteorite: If a meteoroid doesn’t vapourise completely and survives the trip through Earth’s atmosphere, it can land on the Earth. At that point, it becomes a meteorite
- Comet: Like asteroids, a comet orbits the Sun. However rather than being made mostly of rock, a comet contains lots of ice and gas, which can result in amazing tails forming behind them (thanks to the ice and dust vapourising)
Most read in Science
In other space news, Venus will be shining at its brightest this week.
Nasa has shared an image of rare ‘red sprite’ lightning that looks scarily similar to an alien invasion.
And, an ex Nasa genius is selling the ‘smell of space’ in a perfume bottle.
How often do you stargaze? Let us know in the comments…
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org