Sun probe “Parker” considered three of the tail of the comet NEOWISE

Sun probe “Parker” considered three of the tail of the comet NEOWISE, which became the brightest comet in the sky for the last seven years. Data from the probe, helped to identify two components in the ion tail, as well as will continue to determine the size and velocity of particles in the dust tail, is reported on the website NASA.

Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) was opened on 27 March 2020, the space infrared telescope WISE (Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer). Comet NEOWISE moves on a nearly parabolic orbit and 3 July 2020 passed its perihelion, being at a minimum distance of 0.29 astronomical units from the Sun. With the Earth the comet gets closer July 23, 2020, passing at a distance of 103.5 million kilometers. Next time C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) will return to the Sun in a few thousand years, the aphelion of its orbit is at a distance of 500-700 astronomical units from the Sun.

There were concerns that the comet could expect the fate of the bright comets C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) and C/F8 2020 (SWAN), as well as the famous interstellar comet Borisov — their nuclei disintegrated, unable to withstand approach to the Sun. However, the NEOWISE comet survived the perihelion and at the moment remains bright enough to be visible to the naked eye, and the use of camera, binoculars or telescope will allow to clearly distinguish the nucleus and the comet’s tail. In the period from July to mid-September C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) will move across the constellations of Taurus, Auriga, Lynx, URSA major and coma Berenices.

In addition to terrestrial observers, the comet was watched by several spacecraft such as SOHO and SDO, observed its and the astronauts on the International space station. July 5, 2020 comet NEOWISE was in the field of view of the WISPR instrument mounted on Board the probe “Parker”, leading observations of the Sun. On the images obtained by the probe, perfectly clear two tails of the comet. Broader, whitish tail consists of dust particles along the comet’s orbit, more narrow and bluish tail composed of ions, formed from atoms and molecules of gases in the coma by the action of ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.

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