***UPDATED 2020 JULY 4***

 

C/2020 F3 NEOWISE

Closest to Sun on 2020 July 3 at 0.29AU

Closest to Earth on 2020 July 22 at 0.69AU

Maximum brightness 1 in early July 2020

Orbital period 7,000+ years

Image above made prior to solar conjunction and was my last pre-perihelion observation of it.
 

Forecast for comet NEOWISE based on my visual observations made between April 25 to June 10.
H0=7.4, n=4.5 graphed using comet for windows, with a peak brightness of magnitude 1.8 on July 3.


 

Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE), formerly the WISE earth-orbiting satellite , discovered this comet on 2020 March 27th.

A preliminary orbit shows that this comet will also pass considerably close to the Sun in early July, then have a favourable pass by Earth a couple of weeks later.

This comet has strong potential for naked eye visibility.
It will be restricted to northern hemisphere viewers during peak brightness in July before becoming visible to southerners later in July.

I imaged the new comet on 2020 April 2 at 10:10UT, Using a C11 RASA f/2.2 + Canon 60Da.
It displayed a very diffuse but LARGE coma 5 wide. A rough estimate of magnitude 13.
A followup observation on 2020 April 16 gave a magnitude of 12.2.

My observation on 2020 May 29 indicated the comet had brightened rapidly to magnitude 8.1, with a 30' ion tail on a photo.

My final pre-perihelion observation on 2020 June 10 was pushing the limits of comet observing!
when the comets solar elongation was 21 degrees and altitude above local horizon was 5 degrees.
approximate visual estimate = 6.8 using 15x70mm binoculars


The comet remained invisible in June until it entered the SOHO C3 CORONAGRAPH
on JUNE 23 at around 10UT, about 5oclock position
then departed the FOV on JUNE 27 at 23UT, about 3oclock position
Download the animation at: https://soho.nascom.nasa.gov/data/Theater/

 

 


 

JULY 2020
The earliest observations were reported on July 1, with the comet situated only 10 degrees from the Sun, and shining at first magnitude.

The comet is observable for northern hemisphere observers in the predawn MORNING sky, from July 1 to 12,
BUT it will be located very low on the horizon.

North America - EDT Morning sky July 4-13 through Ursa Major: brightness fading from magnitude 1 to 3 in this period.

 

Conditions improve by mid-July as the comet starts to become visible in the EVENING sky.

North America - EDT Evening sky July 12-Aug 1 through Ursa Major: brightness fading from magnitude 3 to 5 in this period.

 

Southern Hemisphere chart end July 2020 35S latitude: brightness fading from magnitude 5 to 6 in this period.

The earliest opportunity for southerners to see the fading comet will be around early evening on July 26, very low on the northwestern horizon.
It could appear 4th magnitude. Hopefully it will have developed a bright dust tail, visible in binoculars.
By August 1, the comet has rapidly gained altitude and will be 15 degrees altitude at end of astronomical twilight from 35S,
situated near the Coma Berenices star cluster Melotte 111, and shining at 5th magnitude.

 

 

Images:


C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) 2020 June 8th at 08:30UT.
visual estimate = 7.1 through 15x70mm binoculars. Altitude 8 degrees. Solar elongation 23 degrees.
Observation made prior to moonrise. Ion tail >40' in PA147.

Above photo taken on 2020 June 3 at 08:45UT.
Comet was at 12 degrees altitude, with 94% moonlight interference. Coma is 5 wide and Ion tail is >30 long in PA140.



C/2020 F3 NEOWISE on 2020 May 29, rapidly approaching the Sun. Visual magnitude was 8.1 at the time
 

C/2020 F3 NEOWISE + reflection nebula NGC 2170
2020 May 25 at 08:50UT. Visual magnitude 8.5 using 25x100mm binoculars.
 

2020 May 9 at 0905UT.
I visually observed the comet prior to moonrise using a pair of 25x100mm binoculars and estimated it at magnitude 10.0.
The comet is well on track to reaching naked eye visibility during July.
 


 


 


35S Finder chart for April-May 2020 evening

During May, the comet was seen in the evening sky for southerners, traversing through Lepus and Monoceros.
It ended the month in Orion before disappearing into evening twilight by June 11th

The comet brightened from magnitude 11 to 7 during this period.