Home > Comet, Ephemeris Program, Observing > 07/24/2020 – Ephemeris – Where did Comet NEOWISE come from?

07/24/2020 – Ephemeris – Where did Comet NEOWISE come from?

July 24, 2020

This is Ephemeris for Friday, July 24th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 56 minutes, setting at 9:17, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:21. The Moon, 3 days before first quarter, will set at 11:58 this evening.

Ephemeris – Over the weekend Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) will be moving toward the west in the sky as it continues dimming as the Moon gets brighter. This make for a real challenge to spot. So where do comets hang out when they’re not buzzing the Sun? NEOWISE came in from 709 times the Earth’s distance from the Sun. That’s 66 billion miles (106 billion km), and a round trip that takes 6,800 years to complete. That aphelion point is between where the Kuiper belt of dwarf planets like Pluto and Eris hang out and the more distant Oort Cloud of pristine comets. Comets are leftovers from the formation of the solar system, four and a half billion years ago. The cold that far out preserves the volatile ices until a passing star sends them inward.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.


Comet NEOWISE finder chart

Comet NEOWISE finder chart for tonight July 24, 2020 at 11 pm or about an hour and a half after sunset looking northwest under the Big Dipper. The Moon is brightening up the sky and the comet is getting dimmer. Stellarium shows the comet at around 4th magnitude. I admit I fudged the formula in the app for the comet brightness, using the values from Seiichi Yoshida’s website entry for C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE). Created using Stellarium.

Seiichi Yoshida’s Weekly Information about Bright Comets: http://www.aerith.net/comet/weekly/current.html.

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