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NASA’s Solar Probe Spots Comet NEOWISE and its Two (Maybe Three) Tails

10 Jul 2020, 19:07 UTC
NASA’s Solar Probe Spots Comet NEOWISE and its Two (Maybe Three) Tails
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An image from the WISPR instrument on board NASA’s Parker Solar Probe shows comet NEOWISE on July 5, 2020, shortly after its closest approach to the Sun. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Naval Research Lab/Parker Solar Probe/Brendan Gallagher. Additional processing by Jason Major.)
As skywatchers around the world (and even above it!) are capturing increasingly beautiful views of the current naked-eye comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), NASA’s Parker Solar Probe was able to grab a picture from a much different vantage point as it traveled beyond the orbit of Mercury on its way toward a July 11 flyby of Venus.
The image above was captured by the probe’s WISPR instrument on July 5, showing the comet’s lengthening dust and ion tails facing away from the Sun, which is off frame at the bottom (picture has been rotated and further processed from the original.) The comet was just two days after its closest approach to the Sun.
Find out how you can see comet NEOWISE for yourself below:
From a news release from NASA on July 10, 2020:
[Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE)] was discovered by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or NEOWISE, on March 27. Since then, the comet has been spotted ...

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