Wednesday 22 July 2020

Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) appriaches the Earth.

Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) makes its closest approach to the Earth on Thursday 23 July 2020, reaching a distance of 0.69 AU from the Earth (0.69% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun, or 103 502 000 km). At this distance the comet will be not naked eye visible, having a magnitude of 6.03, making it naked eye visible, in the Constellation of Ursa Major, which is visible from anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, but starts to disapear from view in the temperate regions of the Southern Hemisphere.

Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) seen from near Beccles in Suffolk, England, on 11 July 2020. Jason Durrant/Sky at Night/BBC.

Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) was discovered on 27 March 2020 by the NEOWISE system on the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer satellite. The designation C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) implies that it is a comet (C/), that it was the third comet-like body (3) discovered in the second half of March 2020 (period 2020 F - the year being split into 24 half-months represented by the letters A-Y, with I being excluded), and that it was discovered by the NEOWISE system.

The orbit and current position of C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE). The Sky Live 3D Solar System Simulator.

C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) has an estimated orbital period of 6765 years and a highly eccentric orbit tilted at an angle of 129° to the plain of the Solar System, that brings it to 0.29 AU from the Sun at perihelion (29% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun); to 715 AU from the Sun at aphelion (715 times as far from the Sun as the Earth or 24 times as far from the Sun as the planet Neptune, and some way beyond the Kuiper Belt). As such it is considered to be a Long Period Comet (comet with a period of over 200 years).

The current position and movement of C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE). In-The-Sky.

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