Comet NEOWISE: Stunning images from International Space Station show blazing light as it flies through the sky

Andrew Griffin
Tuesday 07 July 2020 09:44 BST
Halley's Comet in 1986
Halley's Comet in 1986 (Getty Images)

Stunning new images show comet NEOWISE as it arrives near Earth with a stunning display.

The comet was first discovered at the end of March and prompted excitement that it could soon be seen with the naked eye. Unlike other recent prospects, such as Comet Atlas, the newly discovered object appears to have survived its close encounter with the Sun and has stayed together as it makes its way around Earth.

It is so close that it can be spotted from the ground, using the naked eye. But new photos from the International Space Station show it in stunning detail.

The object's journey took it on its closest approach to the Sun towards the end of last week, when it got so near that it came inside the orbit of Mercury.

Since surviving that, it is now on its long journey back out of the solar system, when it will come even closer to us towards the end of the month.

Images of the object taken from the International Space Station show the comet and its bright tail, streaming out of the back. It is that tail that marks it out as a comet, rather than an asteroid,

The comet is now also visible from Earth, with the naked eye, for anyone lucky to catch it enough at the right time and conditions.

The future of the object – and its brightness – is uncertain. But if it stays intact and safe, it should be visible through next week in both the early evening and early morning sky.

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