Comet NEOWISE has been mesmerising stargazers across the northern hemisphere as the giant ball of ice produces a stunning gaseous tail visible to those of us on Earth. Now, NASA has released an image, taken over a 10-second exposure which shows the ISS travelling through the night sky, seemingly next to the Comet NEOWISE – although the comet is actually millions of miles away. NASA said: “The International Space Station, with a crew of five onboard, is seen in this 10-second exposure above comet NEOWISE, Saturday, July 18, 2020 from Keys Gap.
“The comet was discovered by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or NEOWISE, on March 27.
“Since then, the comet — called comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE and nicknamed comet NEOWISE — has been spotted by several NASA spacecraft, including Parker Solar Probe, NASA’s Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory, the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, and astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
“Onboard the International Space Station are Expedition 63 NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy, Douglas Hurley, Robert Behnken, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.”
Some scientists have warned Comet NEOWISE could be the last comet which could be visible to the naked eye.
Light pollution is increasingly making it difficult for astronomers and amateur stargazers alike, as artificial lighting is constantly on the increase, a team of researchers say.
According to the Natural History museum, light pollution caused by artificial lighting is increasing by an average of six percent a year.
And as things get lighter here on Earth, the sky at night seemingly gets darker.
Gareth Dorrian, post doctoral research fellow in Space Science at the University of Birmingham, and Ian Whittaker, senior lecturer in physics from Nottingham Trent University, said everyone should take advantage of the current comet, the first to be visible from Earth since the 90s, as it could be our last.
The pair wrote in The Conversation: “So comet NEOWISE will only be seen for a few weeks near Earth while it is near perihelion (its closest approach to the Sun).
“It will then spend thousands of years moving slowly near the other end of its orbit.
“It’s aphelion (farthest point) is estimated at 630 astronomical units (AU), with one AU being the distance between the Earth and the Sun.
“With the constant increase of light pollution in the night sky the observation of comets with the naked eye is becoming much rarer.
“For now, though, NEOWISE presents a fantastic opportunity for millions of people to see a night sky phenomenon which typically only presents itself perhaps once in a decade or more. Enjoy the view!”
Source: Read Full Article