July 24, 2020BRIDGEWATER – Local photographer Gene Bank was able to take some amazing photos of the newly discovered Neowise Comet as it soared over Newfound Lake Monday evening.
"I had to wait for some pesky clouds to get out of the way," he conceded, but he still managed to get a stunning shot of the comet.
NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission, first spotted the comet in March of 2020 and said it is now putting on a "dazzling display for skywatchers" this summer. It will soon disappear from earth's view however, projected to not be seen again for another 6,800 years
Originally visible only in the early morning sky through the first half of July, the comet has since become a feature in the evening sky, visible for only about one or two hours after sunset, AccuWeather said.
To spot the comet, scientists advise that viewers find a location away from city lights then look below the Big Dipper in the northwest sky after sunset.
"The fact that we can see it is really what makes it unique," said Emily Kramer, a science team co-investigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, during a news conference last week. "It's quite rare for a comet to be bright enough that we can see it with a naked eye or even with just binoculars."
Measuring approximately three miles in diameter, it is considered to be a fairly large comet, providing nighttime skywatchers with spectacular views, such as the one Bank captured with his camera. NASA said that without binoculars or other observation tools however, the comet could most likely look more like a fuzzy star with a bit of a tail.
Comet Neowise survived its closest encounter with the sun recently and, now headed back toward the outer solar system, will begin to fade from view by the last weekend in July.