You’ll have to stay up very late to see it, or get up very early, but a newly discovered comet could make a “spectacular” overnight appearance, visible even from light-polluted urban areas like Seattle.
Comet Neowise should be visible between 3:15 and 4:15 a.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle, which is predicting generally clear skies.
You’ll want to look northeast, and just five to 10 degrees above the horizon, the weather service said.
“Alki Beach has a good NE view,” the weather service wrote on Twitter. “You’ll have city light pollution, but the comet should be bright enough for it not to matter much.”
The comet was even bright enough to be seen from New York City early Thursday morning.
Astronomers first discovered the comet in late March, using the Near-Earth Object Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer telescope, according to Scientific American. Officially named C/2020 F3, it has been dubbed Neowise, after the beneficent spotting instrument.
Starting next week, the comet should be visible in the early evening as well, Scientific American reported, as it flies nearer and nearer to Earth. It will come closest to us — a mere 103 million kilometers away — on July 22.
Franck Marchis, an astronomer at the SETI Institute, told Scientific American the comet could go in several directions over the next month or so. It could exhaust its reserves and just disappear from view or it could flame out in a “spectacular event and a great show,” Marchis said.