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Available Expert - A bright rare comet in the low dark sky

Monday, July 20, 2020

Queen’s University expert Connor Stone (Astrophysics) is available to discuss the spectacular Comet NEOWISE.  “The newly discovered comet is visible in the sky every evening this July, no need for binoculars (although they do help) just look roughly to the left of the big dipper after sunset and enjoy. Make sure to get a good look because C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) won't be back for 6,800 years,” says Stone.

Comets are icy fragments left over from the formation of the solar system. They range from less than a kilometre to tens of kilometres in diameter and spend most of their time far from the sun where they are too small and too faint to observe. It’s only when a comet draws near to the sun’s warmth that the celestial magic happens. Frozen gasses, including water vapour and carbon dioxide, which make up the bulk of the comet’s mass, are released, forming a glowing ball, or coma. On July 23, it will make its closest approach to Earth.

Comet NEOWISE is getting higher above the horizon as seen from the northern hemisphere, so it’s becoming easier to capture above buildings, mountains and trees.

The last time a comet was this easily visible was Hale-Bopp in 1997.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Anne Craig (613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) or Julie Brown ( 613-532-8712 or Julie.brown@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.   

Follow Queen’s News and Media Services on Twitter: http://twitter.com/QueensuMedia.   


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