Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) will make its closest approach to the Sun, at a distance of 0.29 AU.
From Fairfield, it will be difficult to observe as it will appear no higher than 8° above the horizon. It will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 03:58 (EDT) – 1 hour and 28 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 8° above the north-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 05:04.
The chart below shows the path of C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) over the course of its apparition, as calculated from the orbital elements published by the Minor Planet Center (MPC).
Alternatively, you can create a textual listing of the comet's position using In-The-Sky.org's ephemeris generator.
Comets are intrinsically highly unpredictable objects, since their brightness depends on the scattering of sunlight from dust particles in the comet's coma and tail. This dust is continually streaming away from the comet's nucleus, and its density at any particular time is governed by the rate of sublimation of the ice in the comet's nucleus, as it is heated by the Sun's rays. It also depends on the amount of dust that is mixed in with that ice. This is very difficult to predict in advance, and can be highly variable even between successive apparitions of the same comet.
In consequence, while the future positions of comets are usually known with a high degree of confidence, their future brightnesses are not. For most comets, we do not publish any magnitude estimates at all. For the few comets where we do make estimates, we generally prefer the BAA's magnitude parameters to those published by the Minor Planet Center, since they are typically updated more often.
Based on the magnitude parameters published for this comet by the BAA Comet Section, we estimate that it may be around mag -1 at perihelion. This estimate is based on observations that the BAA has received from amateur astronomers, assuming that its current level of activity will remain constant.
The comet's position at perihelion will be:
|Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE)||05h58m00s||+30°05'||Auriga||-1.2|
The coordinates are given in J2000.0.
|The sky on 03 July 2020|
12 days old
All times shown in EDT.
Never attempt to point a pair of binoculars or a telescope at an object close to the Sun. Doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness.
This event was automatically generated on the basis of orbital elements published by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) , and is updated whenever new elements become available. It was last updated on 02 Jul 2020.