The comet was discovered this year on March 27 by the NEOWISE Space Telescope. Spencer Coyne photo, July 2020. The comet was discovered this year on March 27 by the NEOWISE Space Telescope. Photo Spencer Coyne, July 2020.

Have you seen the comet? It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance

Rare spectacle will be visible throughout July

Photographers across the province are watching the skies at night, hoping for a shot of Comet NEOWISE.

Spencer Coyne, who has an interest in space, is among them, and managed an impressive capture July 12.

“I’ve been chasing it for about a week, getting up at 3 a.m. to go and sit, and wait for the clouds to clear,” he said.

Conditions were right Sunday.

“We had to move spots and got up into the hills so we could clear the mountains on the horizon.”

Coyne took the picture between 11:30 p.m. and midnight, with his son.

“It was amazing…Ronan was giddy when he saw it he was in awe couldn’t stop talking about how amazing it was. That made it all worth it.”

The comet, formally known as C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), was discovered this year on March 27 by the NEOWISE Space Telescope.

Comet NEOWISE is a retrograde comet, meaning it orbits around our solar system in the opposite direction of the rotational axis of the Sun and planets.

NASA says the comet is about five kilometres across, and its tail is caused by its very close orbit around the Sun, heating its outer-ice layers and releasing gas and dust in a tail of debris.

Comet NEOWISE is expected to remain visible to eyesight throughout July, and orbit closest to Earth on July 23 at a distance of 103 million kilometres away, according to NASA.

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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