Comet F3 NEOWISE May Perform in July

Watch for comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE at dusk in late July… if it survives perihelion.

Update – Friday July 3rd: Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE reaches perihelion today at 16:18 UT/12:18 PM EDT. As of writing this, several observers worldwide have recovered the comet at dawn, and it seems to be holding steady at magnitude +0.5. The dawn apparition is, however, a tough catch, as the comet stays very low to the northeast at dawn in early July. We’ve added in a finder chart (below) for this brief dawn apparition; things improve greatly towards mid-July, as the comet shifts over to the dusk sky and heads out away from the Sun. Let’s hope it stays bright, and maybe throws an outburst our way! We’ll continue to post updates on Twitter as @Astroguyz as the celestial situation warrants.

Ready for one more? 2020 has thus far offered up a steady celestial parade of binocular comets, including C/2019 Y1 and Y4 ATLAS, 2017 T2 PanSTARRS, and 2019 U6 Lemmon. Now, we have one more inner solar system interloper from the Oort Cloud with potential: C/2020 F3 NEOWISE.

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Comet U6 Lemmon Brightens in July

Comet U6 Lemmon

Comet U6 Lemmon promises to be a fine binocular object at dusk.

And then there were five. Though we’re long overdue for the next great ‘Comet of the Century,’ 2020 seems intent on on throwing decent binocular comets our way, the ranks of which include comets C/2017 T2 PanSTARRS, C/2019 Y1 and C/2019 Y4 ATLAS and C/2020 F8 SWAN. Now, C/2019 U6 Lemmon is set to take center stage in July.

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Book Review: Atlas of Solar Eclipses 2020 to 2045

Love solar eclipses? It’s the main question on everyone’s mind post-totality, once the all-too-brief darkness gives way back to light of day…

When’s the next total solar eclipse?

Anyone who has stood in the shadow of the Moon during totality knows the thrill of a total solar eclipse. Now, there’s great new atlas for planning your next great eclipse-chasing adventure. The Atlas of Solar Eclipses 2020 to 2045 by eclipse-chaser and cartographer Michael Zeiler and Michael E. Bakich is an indispensable astronomical resource.

This guide covers every solar eclipse out to 2045, starting with this weekend’s annular eclipse across southern Asia on June 21, 2020, all the way out to the total solar eclipse of August 12, 2045 crossing North America, the Caribbean and South America.

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Spying a Rare ‘Ring of Fire’ Around Venus at Inferior Conjunction

Amazing things happen in the day-to-day sky that often go unnoticed during our normal routine. Just such a curious ‘non-event’ happened this week, when Venus reached inferior conjunction between the Earth and the Sun on its race from the dusk to the dawn sky. And what’s even more amazing, is the fact that some skilled observers followed this passage and caught sight of Venus as a tiny blazing ‘ring of fire’ silhouetted against the dazzling sky.

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How to See This Friday’s Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

Eclipse season resumes on June 5th, with a fine penumbral lunar eclipse.

Are you cursing the June Full Moon as it thwarts your dreams of deep-sky imaging this week? Fear not; said Moon is actually the first astronomical draw for June 2020, as this coming weekend’s Full Moon marks the start of second eclipse season for 2020, with a penumbral lunar eclipse.

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Spot SpaceX’s Crew Dragon After This Weekend’s Historic Launch

Crew Dragon

How to see SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Demo Two mission in orbit.

Update: As you probably know by now, yesterday’s Crew Dragon Demo-2 launch was scrubbed due to weather violations. This is a tough one, as seas need to be relatively calm along the entire Atlantic launch track, in the event of an abort. The next launch is set for Saturday, May 30th at 3:22 AM EDT/20:33 UT, with a backup launch date of Sunday, May 31st at 3:00 AM EDT/20:00 UT. As it stands, weather prospects for both dates are currently at a 60% chance for launch violation. The weather prospects and sighting graphics in this article are updated to reflect the new launch dates, and of course, we’ll be tracking changes on Twitter as @Astroguyz.

It’s been a long time coming.

Nearly nine years after Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-135 landed at the Kennedy Space Center on July 21st, 2011, crewed missions are about to resume from U.S. soil this week, with the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the historic Crew Dragon Demo 2 mission, carrying NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken to the International Space Station. And with any luck and clear skies willing, you may just be able to spy the mission chasing down the station this weekend.

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