Scientists say that the comet known as NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) may become so bright that it will be visible to the naked eye. Astronomer Michael Mattiazzo said that there is a 70 percent chance that the celestial body will survive perihelion - the point in the orbit of an asteroid or comet when it is closest to the Sun. According to astronomers, NEOWISE’s level of brightness will increase by the beginning of July, with its peak occurring on 3 July.
Pushing the limits of comet observing!— Con Stoitsis (@vivstoitsis) June 10, 2020
C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) on 2020 June 10 at 08:30UT.
Solar elongation = 21 degrees.
local altitude above horizon = 5 degrees.
approximate visual estimate = 6.8 using 15x70mm binoculars
tail length on image = >40' in PA 149
Michael Mattiazzo pic.twitter.com/chg4uf4Tox
However, scientists point to the famous saying of astronomer David H. Levy, who suggested: "Comets are like cats. They have tails and they do precisely what they want" – meaning there is a chance that NEOWISE will meet the same fate as the comets ATLAS and SWAN. Both of these celestial bodies were predicted by astronomers to become visible to the naked eye this year, but they disintegrated as they passed the Sun.
Other things that could potentially hamper the observation of NEOWISE are weather conditions, location, and the fact that comets are at their brightest when they approach the Sun, which means they are brightest at dusk and dawn. “It means they are not observable in a dark sky. They have to be even brighter to be visible with the naked eye”, Rick Fienberg, a spokesperson for the American Astronomical Society, told Newsweek.