Spectacular new pictures of the comet Neowise have been captured as it continues to blaze a trail over the Earth.
And for stargazers around the UK, the comet will continue to be visible throughout the month of July.
The comet was discovered in March by the NEOWISE space telescope and is set to make its closest approach to Earth on July 23.
Neowise is millions of miles away from Earth but it can still be spotted thanks to its long trail of ice and dust.
To view the comet in the UK you’ll need to stay up late as it is best viewed at about 2.30am in the north-east sky anywhere in the country – just above the horizon.
Although you’ll be able to see it with just your eyes, you can grab a pair of binoculars for an even more impressive view.
And if you can see it, you’ll be looking at something that’s billions of years old.
‘From its infrared signature, we can tell that it is about 5 kilometers [3 miles] across, and by combining the infrared data with visible-light images, we can tell that the comet’s nucleus is covered with sooty, dark particles left over from its formation near the birth of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago,’ said Joseph Masiero, Neowise deputy principal investigator at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
How to see Comet Neowise in the UK
Comet Neowise is currently moving slowly westwards through the constellation of Auriga low in the sky. You can find it by looking just to the lower left of the bright star Capella.
A good idea may be to download a night sky AR app such as SkyView (which has a free version) on your phone to help you locate the right constellation.
By mid-July, comet Neowise will have moved through to the constellation of Lynx and then onwards into Ursa Major – the Great Bear – on July 17.
Given we’re in the middle of summer, you’ll also have to contend with a light sky in the mornings and the evenings which could also make it harder to spot the comet.
If you do manage to get out and see the comet, feel free to share pictures with us on Twitter here.
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