People waking up early in the morning will be treated to a brilliant site this week: the newly discovered comet NEOWISE, which is the first visible comet of 2020 that can be seen with the naked eye.
Officially known as C/2020 F3, the comet was first spotted by NASA’s NEOWISE satellite in March some 326 miles (525 km) above the Earth’s surface as it began to approach the Sun, shining brightly as it released water vapor from its icy core.
The comet surprisingly survived its loop around the Sun and will be coming closest to Earth this week, after which it is expected to remain visible to the naked eye through July, reports CNN.
The icy space rock, which looks like a bright ball with a luminous tail, can be easily seen at early dawn and dusk across the northern hemisphere.
I have a strong dislike of early mornings—but so worth it today because wow is that comet beautiful! C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) I was at Sunset Crater by 4AM. It was an easy naked-eye object, but really rewarding through binoculars. Last pic is closest to naked eye scale.#neowise pic.twitter.com/1I0Cx2fZQJ
— Jeremy Perez (@jperez1690) July 5, 2020
The comet is the first “great comet” to streak through Earth’s skies in 2020 after two other much-hyped comets, Comet ATLAS and Comet SWAN, fizzled out earlier this year – a common phenomenon since comets are inherently fragile bodies that tend to fall apart as they come closer to the Sun.
Rising Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) over Santa Catalina Mountains. AT72ED + Sony A7S + GIMP, ISO 800, 280X1/4s. This is my second try made this morning near the Rillito River Park, Tucson, AZ, USA.#cometNEOWISE #NEOWISE #comet pic.twitter.com/0eKNV6RYnL
— Jianwei Lyu (@astroskii77) July 5, 2020
“About once a decade you get [a comet] that is really bright, [with] naked eye visibility,” Paul Delaney, an astronomy professor at York University, told Global News. “That’s surprisingly what NEOWISE has become. We weren’t expecting it.”
Comets typically appear faint in the sky, which is why it’s recommended that you look for the comet in the early morning and evening, right when the level of sunlight allows you to see it against the night sky but without washing the spectacle out.
“For the northern hemisphere, it’s very low to the horizon in the early morning,” said astrophysicist Karl Battams of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. “People need to get up early, but it’s easily visible with binoculars.”
The comet will be visible at dawn until July 11, when it reaches the highest point in the sky, according to EarthSky.
Comet NEOWISE and the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada 🍁! I was up really early for this shot. It's not often that we get the opportunity to see or photograph a comet of this brightness and with a tail. I hope you like it!🤩 https://t.co/BFyxFFw2DE pic.twitter.com/sGZBiEVryM
— Kerry LH💫 (@weatherandsky) July 5, 2020
In mid-July, however, comet NEOWISE will become visible just after sunset near the horizon in the northwest. Earthsky reports that the comet nay stick around through the second half of the month, during which time it will be higher in the sky at dusk.
NEOWISE is expected to disappear into its orbit in August.
Comet NEOWISE is the best comet in decades. See it low in the NE about 75 minutes before sunrise. This photo July 7, Portal, AZ. pic.twitter.com/OoxtfgXt8i
— Fred Espenak (@FEspenak) July 7, 2020
While many have caught some amazing glimpses of NEOWISE with their naked eye alone, stargazers are recommended to use binoculars while astrophotographers should use a quality camera with a zoom lens to catch an even closer look at the magnificent display.
Comet Neowise on july 7 courtesy Michael Jager pic.twitter.com/m6WLASLOyy
— Con Stoitsis (@vivstoitsis) July 8, 2020
Astronomers and astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have captured some amaing photos and videos of NEOWISE.
In a tweet, ISS cosmonaut Ivan Vagner of Russia tweeted about the comet, noting that its large tail is quite clearly visible from the space station.
На следующем витке попробовал чуть ближе сфотографировать самую яркую за последние 7 лет комету C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE).
— Ivan Vagner (@ivan_mks63) July 4, 2020
It also bears repeating that while comets have historically been the basis of misperceptions borne of superstitious beliefs, these distant snowballs pose absolutely zero danger to terrestrial life.
NASA is urging photographers, both amateur and professional, to submit any photos to its Astronomy Picture of the Day program here.
#Comet C/2020 F3 #NEOWISE over Santa Catalina Mountains, Tucson, AZ. Photographed with astro-modified Sony A7s and 400/5.6 telephoto lens. 38 frames of 0.25s exposure, background grandient removed and stacked. 2020-07-04 ~11:30 UTC pic.twitter.com/lXVlPbrMxW
— Yujing "Eugene" Qin (@yujing_qin) July 4, 2020
Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces
Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.
And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.
The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.
The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.
At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.
When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.
Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.
The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.
The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.
“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.
“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.
“His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.
Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.
Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber
An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.
In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.
“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”
As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.
Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.
“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.
Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.
So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.
“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”
As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.
Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.
“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”
Binx the Cat, Who Survived Florida Condo Collapse, Found and Reunited With Family
Amid the tragedy of last month’s collapse of a South Florida condo building, there was a tiny bit of good news when a cat named Binx, who lived on the ninth floor of the Surfside building, was found safe and returned to his family.
“I’m glad that this small miracle could bring some light into the lives of a hurting family today and provide a bright spot for our whole community in the midst of this terrible tragedy,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in a Friday press conference, reports NPR.
Levine Cava explained that a volunteer who feeds street cats in the area recognized the cat near the building before bringing him to an animal shelter, where it was then identified.
Gina Nicole Vlasek, the co-founder of the The Kitty Campus rescue group, posted on Facebook that a black cat had been found near the rubble of the group before it was brought to the shelter on Thursday night.
“We are so grateful to be able to help in any small way,” Vlasek said.
“All we needed was a ray of hope in this tragedy,” she continued. “Today was one of the most amazing days.. one of the survivors came to see the cat and to determine if it was her families cat and IT WAS!”
The mayor said that animal control workers are continuing to work to recover any pets that may have survived the horrible collapse.
The 12-story Surfside condo collapsed on June 24. At least 79 people have been confirmed dead, with 61 additional residents remaining unaccounted for.