The comet NEOWISE has been taking the world by storm in recent weeks. NEOWISE is a recently discovered comet with a diameter of 3 miles and is flying approximately 23.3 million miles away from the sun. From where I live in, I had a window of 30 minutes each night to view the comet and its sulfuric tail. Given the intense light pollution of my city, the visibility of the comet’s light is rather low. Nonetheless, I persist and try to spot the comet amidst the failing light of the setting sun and fluorescent bulbs flickering overhead. What I hadn’t expected was the excruciating precision to detail I would need to spot NEOWISE with my novice telescope and position it to be focused through the eyepiece. I was completely unaware of my lack of ability to make precise, minuscule movements until this very moment. It took two days worth of trying and intense frustration on my part to finally catch a glimpse of NEOWISE. At this point, I was reasonably irritated and didn’t have very high hopes for seeing much of anything through my telescope. What I didn’t expect was to be so thoroughly amazed at viewing such a small object through my telescope. Seeing a comet journey through the sky with not-so-very relative ease to which no one else would be able to see for the next 6,800 years if it still existed at that point, was completely and utterly awe-inspiring. I began astronomy with excitement and curiosity but hadn’t had the chance to explore it more thoroughly. Upon seeing this spectacular sight that was 70 million miles out of my reach, I realized just how astonishing astronomy can be. I had the urge to explore the universe with my own eyes, not just through news articles and astrophotography. NEOWISE inspired me to pursue astronomy with an intense passion as well as explore the world that lay before me. NEOWISE was just the tip of my metaphorical iceberg. I wait with relish and excitement for the next once in a lifetime opportunity to explore the depths of the universe and share my experience with astronomers of all levels and backgrounds around the world.
If you want more information on NEOWISE, check out this article: