NASA spots Comet NEOWISE from space station – how to see it from the UK this month

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From their position on the International Space Station, astronauts are treated to a unique view of our planet that most people will never have the chance to see.

The ISS orbits Earth at a height of around 250 miles, meaning the space station makes around 16 trips around Earth every single day.

Now, NASA astronauts on board the ISS have snapped a stunning photo of Comet NEOWISE.

NASA tweeted the photo, writing: “When you wish upon a falling star… Comet Neowise was pictured from the station on July 5 as it orbited above the Mediterranean Sea.”

While NASA’s astronauts have already spotted the comet, there’s a chance you could see it too this month.

The comet, called NEOWISE, is going to be visible to over the UK this July after NASA discovered it in late March.

NASA explained: “Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) was discovered in late March and brightened as it reached its closest approach to the Sun, inside the orbit of Mercury, late last week.

“The interplanetary iceberg survived solar heating, so far, and is now becoming closer to the Earth as it starts its long trek back to the outer Solar System.”

While the comet has already reached its closest approach to the sun, it’s actually getting closer to Earth.

The comet will reach its closest point to Earth on July 23, at which point it will be at a distance of 103 million kilometres, according to Paul Sutherland, author of Skymania.

He explained: “The comet’s track is currently carrying it between the constellations of Auriga and Gemini, so in early July you will have to look to the north-east, a little way beneath the bright star Capella, to find it.

“During the rest of July, Comet NEOWISE will head through Lynx and into Ursa Major, passing beneath the familiar asterism of seven bright stars known as the Big Dipper, or the Plough. This will keep it low in the sky before dawn, but it will increasingly be visible earlier in the night, in a darker sky.

“By the third week of July, the comet will be on view all night long and stargazers will be able to view it before going to bed, rather than having to get out of their warm beds before dawn!”

While the comet is likely to be visible with the naked eye, binoculars could come in handy if you have them.

Mr Sutherland added: “Binoculars will be very helpful in finding it, even if the comet is just visible in the brightening twilight.”

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