Will Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) Survive Perihelion?

~2 min
Will Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) Survive Perihelion?

Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) is getting brighter. Will it survive its close encounter with the Sun? Here's what is known about it.

Astronomers around the world are monitoring Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) that is expected to reach naked-eye visibility after passing its perihelion, or closest point to the Sun, on July 3, 2020. According to the latest data, there is a good chance that Comet NEOWISE does not disintegrate before reaching perihelion as it happened with comets ATLAS (C/2019 Y4) and SWAN (C/2020 F8).

From June 23 to 28, 2020, Comet NEOWISE entered the field of view of the LASCO C3 coronagraph on board the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). This allowed astronomers to examine the comet and collect data to predict its future behavior. No evidence of the comet's nucleus fragmentation has been found. Moreover, the comet has increased significantly in brightness in those days and continues this tendency now. According to Comet Observation Database (COBS), its current magnitude is +2.1. Astronomers are 70% sure that Comet NEOWISE will survive perihelion and may brighten up to 0-1 magnitude. If their assumptions come true, the comet will be visible to the naked eye in the middle of July.

Сomet NEOWISE will appear in the evening sky in mid July in the Northern Hemisphere, and in late July in the Southern Hemisphere. After that, the space rock stays observable while getting fainter. From July 10 to 29, it will pass the constellations of Auriga, Lynx, and Ursa Major.

To get up-to-date information on the position of the comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) in the sky, consult the stargazing app Star Walk 2.

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Image Credit:ESA / NASA

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