Comet NEOWISE visible in stunning images from the ISS – How to see the comet

This year has seen two comets making their way through the solar system, only to disintegrate as they approached the Sun. Comet ATLAS and Comet SWAN made headlines this year as astronomers spotted the bright space rocks making their way towards the Sun. Researchers had been hoping to analyse how the comets acted as they approached the Sun, and were hoping the comets would become visible to the naked eye.

But now Comet NEOWISE has more than made up for its predecessors’ disappearances, stunning those onboard the ISS.

NASA astronaut Bob Behnken posted a series of images showing the comet taking on a white glow hovering in the distance above the horizon on Earth.

Mr Behnken shared the image on his Twitter page following America’s Independence Day on July 4.

The astronaut posted the images on Twitter, and said: “Last night’s fireworks, for real. Because Science.”

Comet NEOWISE is no visible across the globe in the early hours of the morning, according to website Space Weather.

Space Weather said: “Comet NEOWISE is now a worldwide sensation. It will remain a morning comet for the next ~week, then, by mid-month, shift to evening skies where casual star gazers can see it without waking at the crack of dawn.”

A stunning video from amateur astronomer Robert Barsa from Lubietova, Slovakia, shows the comet in deep space, partially hidden by thick morning clouds.

Mr Barsa said: “The comet was drowning in [clouds]. I could easily see the comet with my naked eye as it rose over Dumbier Peak in the Low Tatras Mountains. It was stunning.”

Comet NEOWISE was first discovered by NASA’s NEOWISE telescope – an asteroid hunting observatory.

According to the California Institute of Technology (CalTECH): “The NEOWISE project is the asteroid-hunting portion of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission.

“Funded by NASA’s Planetary Science Division, NEOWISE harvests measurements of asteroids and comets from the WISE images and provides a rich archive for searching WISE data for solar system objects.

“During its primary mission, NEOWISE delivered infrared detections of more than 158,000 minor planets to the scientific community, including more than 34,000 new discoveries.

“NEOWISE data have been used to set limits on the numbers, orbits, sizes, and probable compositions of asteroids throughout our solar system, and enabled the discovery of the first known Earth Trojan asteroid.”

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