Photo: NASA/ISS Expedition 63

Astronaut Aboard the International Space Station Captured Awesome Shots of NEOWISE Above Earth

News Astronomy
by Eben Diskin Jul 23, 2020

When it comes to comet-gazing, the best we can hope for here on Earth is standing outside at the opportune moment and catching a glimpse of the cosmic snowball streaking across the sky. But if you’re an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS), you have a much better chance of catching the celestial phenomenon — and a much better view.

On July 5, NASA astronaut Bob Behnken was aboard the ISS when he saw the NEOWISE comet above Earth. He turned on the ISS camera and captured the spectacle with hundreds of photographs, which were later edited by graphic artist Seán Doran into a timelapse movie. You can see the sunrise starting at the two-minute mark and the comet at around three minutes and 10 seconds.

On July 8, Behnken told The Daily, “Right before the sun came up, that comet became visible during that short period of time when it was still close to the sun, but the sun was still hidden by the Earth. It was just an awesome sight to be able to see.”

The comet is viewable from Earth just after sunset, in the northwest sky, but you’ll have to head out tonight for the best chance at a glimpse. NEOWISE makes its closest approach to Earth on July 23.

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