A Comet Is Flying By Us, And You Can See It With Your Own Eyes.
I fall right in that perfect age group, where quite possible I'll see Halley's Comet twice in my lifetime. When I was in grade school back in '86, it was all kids could talk about. Now, to be fair, we thought it was going to be like Star Trek, and that there would be this giant, gaseous ball of flame hurtling through the night sky.
Honestly, it was kind of a let down. When you're expecting to see the sky on fire, and it turns out it's just this thing that looks like a cloudy spot, it's a bit underwhelming. But that's also because I was just too young to really understand how fully cool it was. I wanted it to be aliens, and it was just icy dust.
But now that I'm older and wiser, the idea of seeing a comet with my naked eyes seems pretty frikkin' awesome. Recently discovered back in March, Comet NEOWISE is making it's way around the sun and has been steadily headed our way. More sophisticated sky watchers have seen it on their telescopes, but soon you won't need even need those.
According to Scientific American, right now it's visible at dawn. Just about an hour before full-on sunrise. But in the next few days, it's supposed to flip it's schedule and become visible in the evening. About an hour after sunset, it should be visible on the northwestern horizon line.
Over the next several nights after that, it should get a little higher in the sky. Then by the end of the month, POOF! It'll pretty much be gone as quickly as it came. But you should have some solid chances over the next few weeks to get a look at it. Binoculars will certainly help, as would avoiding light pollution.
Fast forward all these years later, I can't wait to get a glimpse at NEOWISE. I know exactly what I'm in for this time, and couldn't be more stoked. After all, it's in outer space. How cool is that?!