GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — Astronomy lovers around the world have been treated to a spectacular event this month -- Comet NEOWISE.
Comets are made up of dust, rock and ice and are visible on Earth as sunlight reflects off the comet. As a comet gets closer to the sun, they heat up. The gases and dust form a bright head, and dust extending from the head appears as the tail.
Comet NEOWISE (Near Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) is bright enough to see from most of the Northern Hemisphere. Many have reported glimpsing the comet with the naked eye away from city lights, but the best views come with a pair of binoculars.
Previously the comet was best viewed early in the morning, but now the comet has transitioned to the best views in the early overnight, about an hour after sunset. Look to the northwest near the horizon.
An easy way to locate the comet is to identify the Big Dipper constellation, then look below that, perhaps a little to the right. If you cannot spot the comet, trees or houses may be obstructing your view.
After July 15, Comet NEOWISE will get dimmer and climb higher in the sky. On July 23, the comet will be closest to Earth yet very difficult to spot without binoculars or a telescope.
MORE on 13 ON YOUR SIDE:
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.