At last, a strong predicted showing from a newly discovered comet – C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) – which may well brighten to naked eye visibility around the time of its maximum in July!
The comet was discovered in late March this year by the NEOWISE program using NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer satellite. It is now heading in towards the Sun and brightening steadily. Current orbital estimation and light curve modelling indicate that it is likely to be a naked eye object in late June through to the end of July, though it is worth noting that this will clearly coincide with the time of closest approach to the Sun so observation may be tricky – waiting for the Sun to go down before locating the nearby comet in the twilight.
If the modelling provided on Seiichi Yoshida’s excellent Aerith website is borne out, 2020 F3 may peak at just better than 3 magnitude and it will, hopefully, be quite a sight.
( Comet image source: cometografia.es )