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Comet NEOWISE Rises in the Sky of Maunakea

July 8, 2020
Last updated: July 14, 2020

At dawn on July 7, 2020 (Hawaii time), Comet C/2020 NEOWISE rising in the northeastern sky was photographed from the summit area of Maunakea, where the Subaru Telescope is located. Beautiful tails of the comet are seen in the photo taken by Dr. Ichi Tanaka, an astronomer of the Subaru Telescope, after completing his observation duties with the telescope.

Comet NEOWISE Rises in the Sky of Maunakea Figure

Figure 1: Comet C/2020 NEOWISE rises in the northeastern sky at dawn on July 7, 2020 (Hawaii time). (Photograph: Dr. Ichi Tanaka/Credit: NAOJ)

Comet C/2020 NEOWISE was discovered by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) in March 2020. It has been a hot topic among people since late June, as it became brighter than predicted.

Comets are small Solar System bodies, mainly composed of ice and dust, and are important for understanding the origin of the Solar System. The Subaru Telescope observed a number of comets in the past. In the recent year, the Subaru Telescope detected infrared emissions that are likely from complex organic molecules in Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner (Subaru Telescope Press Release on November 18, 2019), and found that the comet formed in a warmer region in the solar nebula compared to other observed comets (Subaru Telescope Press Release on April 13, 2020).

Movie: Comet C/2020 NEOWISE rises in the northeastern sky at dawn on July 7, 2020 (Hawaii time). (Video: Dr. Ichi Tanaka/Credit: NAOJ)

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