(ORDO NEWS) — Comet C / 2020 F8 (SWAN), arguably the brightest comet we will see this year, is in a better position to observe from now until mid-June. It should be clearly visible in the northwest sky after sunset, close to the horizon.
Along with the sun, planets and asteroids, comets make up the solar system, the closest part of space. Comets are objects made up of stones and ice, and can be of any size – from a large mountain to several tens of meters.
Most of their cometary orbits are far from the Sun, traveling through the cold of space, where they are at rest. When they approach, everything changes: they heat up, ice begins to turn into gas, and jets of gas and dust begin to come out from the surface of the comet.
The pressure of sunlight and solar wind sweeps gas and dust into long tails, which can extend tens of millions of kilometers. These tails can be unusually beautiful and appear in many of the best drawings and photographs in astronomy.
Comet SWAN was discovered at the end of March in images of the observatory (SOHO). She looked pretty bright, but fading, and the best chance to see her is from the last week of May to the beginning of June. Using binoculars, the comet should be visible in the northwest sky after sunset, close enough to the horizon.
Lucky viewers can even see it with the naked eye – some astronomers in the southern hemisphere have already done this, but the bright twilight sky and the low height of comet SWAN will not make this observation easy.
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