NEOWISE Comet Putting on a Show in Western Montana
The NEOWISE comet can still be seen in the western Montana night sky as it journeys through the solar system.
Mark Reiser is with the Physics and Astronomy Department at the University of Montana, and the Planetarium Director.
“It’s the first ‘naked-eye’ comet we’ve had in a while at our latitude,” said Reiser. “This one did survive the journey and has actually been a pleasant surprise as far as maintaining brightness as well as getting a little bit stronger as we go.”
Reiser said to get the kids out of bed and view this comet while it’s still visible in western Montana.
“It’s a longer period comet and it won’t be coming around again anytime soon,” he said. “It’s now headed out toward the outer reaches of the solar system and it has passed it’s closet point to the sun, so now it’s rushing away from the sun, and I think at about the 22nd of July, it will be at it’s closet approach to the earth.”
Reiser has some tips as to where best to view the NEOWISE comet.
“It’s near a bright star called Capella, and you’ll need a pretty clear northeastern horizon for the morning view,” he said. “As this week goes on, it will actually get easier and easier to see in the early evenings, so right as soon as the sky gets dark and you look to the north-northwest, it should be visible low in that direction, so you’d want a clear path without many trees, because it’s going to be low in the sky.”
The Star Gazing room is located in the Payne Family Native American Center on the UM campus.