Rare comet Neowise seen over Stonehenge and will be visible for a month

·4-min read
A blazing comet that has travelled for 6,800 years was seen streaking over Stonehenge on a perfect summer’s evening. See SWNS story SWBRcomet; Photographer Matthew Brown, 37, drove nearly three hours away from his home to get to the iconic neolithic stone monument to capture it during the “clearest sky of the year”.  On a spectacular evening, the rare Neowise comet could be seen as it came as close as 103 million km away from earth. The photographer managed to capture the breathtaking shot of the comet flying over the rocks late Friday night (July 10). The fireball shot through the sky on its once-in-a-6,800-year journey with the stunning Noctilucent clouds behind it. Noctilucent clouds, or night shining clouds, are A cloud-like phenomena in the upper atmosphere of Earth.
A blazing comet that has travelled for 6,800 years was seen streaking over Stonehenge on a perfect summer’s evening. (SWNS)

A rare comet that has travelled for 6,800 years has been pictured streaking over Stonehenge on a remarkably clear summer’s evening.

Photographer Matthew Brown, 37, drove nearly three hours from his home to the iconic neolithic stone monument to capture the image, with its backdrop of noctilucent – or “night shining” – clouds.

Brown achieved the breathtaking shot of the glowing comet, nicknamed Neowise by Nasa, on late Friday night.

Neowise has been spotted by stargazers across the UK and around the world as it flies past Earth on its way back to the outer parts of the solar system, which it will reach by mid-August.

The comet will be its closest to the Earth on 23 July but will still be about 64m miles (103m km) away, according to astronomy site EarthSky.

Comet Neowise passes over Ringwood, Hampshire on 12 July 2020. See SWNS story SWBRcomet.
Comet Neowise passes over Ringwood, Hampshire, on 12 July. (SWNS)
Comet Neowise passes over lake Vymwy in Wales on 11 July 2020. See SWNS story SWBRcomet.
Neowise passes over Lake Vymwy in Wales on 11 July. (SWNS)
Comet Neowise passes over Castle Hill, Huddersfield, July 12 2020.
The comet will be closest to the Earth on 23 July but will still be about 64m miles away, according to EarthSky. Pictured, Neowise passes over Castle Hill, Huddersfield, on 12 July. (SWNS)
Comet Neowise passes Titterstone Clee Hill Radar and amazing rare Noctilucent clouds behind it on 10 Juy 2020. See SWNS story SWBRcomet;
Comet Neowise passes Titterstone Clee Hill Radar with amazing rare noctilucent clouds behind it on 10 July. (SWNS)

Noctilucent clouds are cloud-like phenomena in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

They consist of ice crystals and are only visible during astronomical twilight.

Craig, from Carmarthern, Wales, said: “I’ve taken thousands upon thousands of shots during my career but this has to be one of my favourites.

Read more: Life on Earth could have arrived on a comet

“I knew it was going to be one of the clearest nights we had so I had to make my way there.

“I live in Carmarthen, I thought it was now or never for me to head there and get myself a photo of a lifetime. I was so happy when I got there because it was simply breathtaking.”

Comet Neowise passes over Roker Light House in Sunderland on 12 July 2020. See SWNS story SWBRcomet.
Comet Neowise passes over Roker Light House in Sunderland on 12 July. (SWNS)
Comet Neowise passes over lake Vymwy in Wales on 11 July 2020. See SWNS story SWBRcomet.
Neowise passes over Lake Vymwy in Wales on 11 July. (SWNS)

“When I parked up and I saw the clouds I was just amazed.

“I am a professional photographer so I shoot a lot at all hours of the day, but the sky that night was spectacular. It was absolutely worth it. I’d have kicked myself if I hadn’t gone and missed out.”

Read more: Ancient human settlement was destroyed by a comet 12,800 years ago

“The pictures are showing something so unique. You’ve got the comet, the noctilucent clouds, which only appear a couple of weeks a year during the summer, and you’ve got this clear sky.

“It’s not something you see often and to see it all at Stonehenge made it special.”

SALTBURN BY THE SEA, ENGLAND - JULY 13: Comet Neowise is visible in the night sky above Saltburn pier on July 13, 2020 in Saltburn By The Sea, England. Comet Neowise, officially called C/2020 F3, first appeared towards the end of March. It brightened as it reached its closest approach to the Sun, inside the orbit of Mercury late last week. Comet Neowise is one of the few naked-eye comets of the 21st Century. It will be visible in the northern hemisphere just before sunrise and after sunset. Throughout July, Neowise is moving westwards across the sky. The comet will come closest to Earth on July 23, though it will still be about 64 million miles (103 million km) away. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
Neowise above Saltburn pier in Saltburn By The Sea, North Yorkshire, on 13 July. (Getty)

A comet is a small, icy body that, when passing close to the sun, warms and begins to release gases, a process called outgassing.

This produces a visible atmosphere, or coma, and sometimes also a tail.

Nasa wrote on its Astronomy Picture of the Day page: “As Comet Neowise became one of the few naked-eye comets of the 21st century, word spread quickly, and the comet has already been photographed behind many famous sites and cities around the globe.

The Comet NEOWISE or C/2020 F3 is seen above Salgotarjan, Hungary, early Friday, July 10, 2020. It passed closest to the Sun on July 3 and its closest approach to the Earth will occur on July 23. (Peter Komka/MTI via AP)
Comet Neowise is seen above Salgotarjan, Hungary, on 10 July. (AP)

Read more: A comet did it! Mystery of giant crater solved

“The future brightness of Comet Neowise remains somewhat uncertain but the comet will likely continue to be findable not only in the early morning sky, but also next week in the early evening sky.”

EarthSky suggests people bring binoculars, or a good camera.

In this image released by NASA, Comet Neowise, left, is seen in the eastern horizon above Earth in this image taken from the International Space Station on Sunday, July 5, 2020. (NASA via AP)
Comet Neowise is seen in the eastern horizon above Earth in an image taken from the International Space Station on 5 July. (Nasa via AP)

“If you don’t have binocs but do have a good camera, a great alternative is to capture a few seconds long exposure image of the approximate area of the sky. Try at different magnification or zoom settings, and the results should reveal the comet’s nice tail,” the site says.

Once the skies are dark enough, the comet is visible to the naked eye, and looks spectacular through binoculars or a small telescope.

Neowise should be visible from about an hour after sunset by looking in a northerly direction.

The best views – depending on the weather – could come on 22-23 July, when it will make its closest pass to Earth.

Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK Recommended

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting