The Comet That Dazzled the World This July

Photographers and scientists capture breathtaking images of NEOWISE as it made its world tour.
Comet Neowise

Comet NEOWISE pictured above Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada.

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Abigail Malate, Staff Illustrator

(Inside Science) -- The comet NEOWISE captivated spectators around the world this month. The comet, also known as C/2020 F3, was discovered March 27 this year as part of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission, from which it derives its name. Its visitation is especially precious, as it will not be seen again by viewers on Earth for another 6,800 years.


DSC Antenna Cornwall

This once-in-a-lifetime photo was captured in Cornwall, U.K., at 3:16 a.m. on July 16. In the foreground, the Deep Space Communications antenna at Goonhilly Earth Station points directly at the night sky. NEOWISE can be glimpsed catching the sunlight to the left of the antenna, and the International Space Station makes a cameo as it zooms through the sky in the right side of the photo. (Nathanial Bradford)

Comet Neowise

Here, the NEOWISE comet plummets in the night sky above Lake Mead National Recreation Area, in Nevada, U.S. Captured at 3:51 a.m. on July 7, the comet’s fiery presence creates an almost alien landscape with the ruddy, barren rocks and still waters. (James Marvin Phelps)

Neowise in Croatia

In this partial panorama, NEOWISE is seen streaming past a smorgasbord of stars. One side of the Milky Way arches along the right half of the photo, with NEOWISE seeming to arch along with it on the left. Even a meteor was captured toward the top right. This photo was taken at Lake Štikada in Croatia, on July 19. (Šime Barešić)

Neowise from ISS

The International Space Station was able to see NEOWISE from a unique vantage point above Earth. At 8:40 p.m. GMT on July 5, the comet was seen here just before sunrise. From this angle, one can see Kyzylkum Desert, Uzbekistan, in the center of the photo, stretching across the curve of the planet. (NASA)

Neowise in Poland

A lonely sailboat sitting on calm water might have been the main character of this photograph, until one peeks toward the upper right. NEOWISE made a shy appearance here in Rewa, Poland, at 11:23 p.m. on July 17. (Adam Kumiszcza)

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Abigail Malate is a graphic designer at the American Institute of Physics, which produces the editorially independent news service Inside Science.