C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), or Comet NEOWISE, is a retrograde comet with a near-parabolic orbit discovered on March 27, 2020 by the NEOWISE space telescope. It passed closest to the Sun on July 3, 2020 at a range of 0.29 AU from the sun. After surviving perihelion 0.29 AU from the Sun, the comet should remain visible to the naked eye in July.
NEOWISE is the first visible comet of 2020, and will be visible until August. It is worth noting that the comet does not nor will not pose any danger to the planet, as it will pass by harmlessly. The comet has gotten a lot of attention after NASA astronaut Bob Behnken tweeted about the comet with beautiful photos!
The comet has an inbound orbital period of about 4500 years before this orbit around the sun and an orbital period of 6766 years after its perihelion from the sun.
Courtesy: NASA Showing How NEOWISE will pass by the Sun and Earth
Seeing The Comet
Easily visible with binoculars and telescopes, NEOWISE is visible in the Pacific Northwest at early dawn and dusk. The reason that dawn and dusk is the ideal time to view comets because comets are often visible. Therefore, it is easiest to catch a glimpse in the early morning and evening, when there is just enough sunlight to see them against the night sky.
To find the comet in the night sky, you will need a clear view to the east-northeast. Neowise will be visible slightly above the horizon for about 30 to 45 minutes before sunrise. The comet’s location is to the left of planet Venus near the Auriga constellation. Here is a great tool to help find comet Neowise from your location so you can customize the exact location and time you will available. It is said that you can use even an 18-55 mm lens to see it in the dawn hours. The comet will continue to brighten until July 22nd at which point it will become dimmer and dimmer as it moves away from Earth.
There as some success using a wider angle lens at 135mm and using a lens with about 400mm in size. The best time to shoot is around 3:30am as by 4:15am to 4:30am, the comet is no longer ideal to photograph.
Check out this article for tips and tricks for imaging and viewing comet Neowise.