The ancients used to regard the sighting of a comet as a sign from the gods. The arrival this weekend of Comet Neowise may be more prosaic, but it nonetheless brightens up the night sky. GRAHAM CLUER, a member of the Croydon Astronomical Society, took the pictures and explains
Comets are visitors to our solar system which come in from outside, fly around the sun, then leave us again. Some (like Halley’s comet) return many years later, others pay us just a single visit.
They are made mainly of ice and loose rock, which is why they are sometimes referred to as “dirty snowballs”.
It has been many years since we have had a good view of a comet from England. Now, and for the next week or so, there is a chance to see Comet C/2020 F3 Neowise.
You will need binoculars to find it but when you know where it is, you just might see it with the naked eye. It may get easier to see in the next few days. There’s plenty of online apps and articles to help you know where to look.
This weekend the comet is in the northern sky and rather low down, so you need a good clear view of the northern horizon to spot it. In Croydon, we are lucky to have Shirley Hills, which gives an excellent viewing point in the direction we want.
You may see it after the sun has set or, better still, in the hours before it rises.
The photographs with this article were taken at about 11.30 on Friday night.
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