SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – There’s a rare sight in the skies for the next few weeks. A newly-discovered comet will be visible over the Bay Area, just after sunset, and it won’t be back for thousands of years.
It’s called Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE, and was found on March 27 by astronomers using a giant space telescope of the same name.
For the past few weeks, stargazers have captured pictures of Comet NEOWISE over Stonehenge, Ireland, even the Rio Grande.
Now it’s our turn to see the 3-mile wide mass of ice, dust and rock pass over Earth.
Comet NEOWISE will be right where the sun slips below the horizon, and to the right of the Big Dipper. For best viewing a clear view to the northwest sky is crucial.
The comet will stay bright for several nights, and will at it’s brightest next week when it comes closest to Earth. After that, the Bay Area can see the celestial display every evening, clouds permitting, until about mid-August.
Catch it now, because Comet NEOWISE won’t be back for another 6,800 years.
For those who want to know more, NASA is planning a teleconference on Wednesday, July 15 at 6 p.m. PST. Viewers can ask questions on Twitter using the hashtag #AskNASA or in the chat section of Facebook, Periscope or YouTube.
To watch NASA’s livestream, go to www.nasa.gov/nasalive.