Attention Photographers Watch Comet NEOWISE
Comet NEOWISE survived the trip around the sun and has brightened significantly.
Attention all photographers and astronuts! You are seeing this correctly. We have a comet in the predawn hours that is brightening from its passage around the sun. It has been a couple of years since we were able to see a naked eye comet in the Northern Hemisphere, since Comet PanSTARRS in 2013. This is a rare sight to foresee and we will be eagerly watching this over the course of July when it becomes higher from the horizon and in darker skies.
Yesterday, July 3rd, Comet NEOWISE passed by the sun near the orbit of Mercury. Intense solar heating boosted its brightness to magnitude +1 (now +2), allowing it to be seen despite its close proximity to the sun. This development has turned NEOWISE into one of the most remarkable comets in years.
Comet NEOWISE is just getting started. It is barely visible to the naked eye now only because it has to compete with the glow of dawn. The situation will improve in the days ahead as NEOWISE moves into darker skies. If it retains its current luminosity, the comet should put on a very good show indeed.
Set your alarm for dawn!