You should be able to see Comet NEOWISE with binoculars as it continues to pass by the earth. The likelihood to see Comet NEOWISE will depend on how bright the comet will be plus factors that are dependent on your location. And binoculars should be a part of your arsenal to view the comet.
This past couple of months has given us a great opportunity for viewing comets. Comet SWAN created a splash in May and teased us with its display in the night sky. Depending on the visibility of your skies, you might have been able to view Comet SWAN with the naked eye, but you would have been much better off with a decent set of binoculars.
So when will you be able to see Comet NEOWISE with binoculars? First, lets figure out where and when Comet NEOWISE will be visible in the night sky. Currently the comet can be seen at dawn and will gradually get lower in the horizon each day. By July 12, the comet will become visible at dusk (just after sunset), low in the northwest horizon.
There are several apps that will locate the comet for you. SkySafari is one of the best available, because it offers so many other features you can use to learn about the night sky after the comet leaves. You can search both app stores for astronomy apps and you’ll find plenty of options.
The ability to see Comet NEOWISE with binoculars will largely be determined by how dark your skies are. This depends on a number of factors about your location including city lights, clouds, moonlight and more. The clearer the skies, the better the opportunity to see the comet. To hedge your bets, we suggest that your best way to see Comet NEOWISE is to grab a pair of binoculars.
Better binoculars mean better views, of course. Magnification is the main differentiator in binoculars however field of view/exit pupil, lens quality, and more are also factors. However, the reality is, if you have a pair of binoculars laying around the house, they are going to provide a better view of the comet than your naked eye (unless they are really a piece of junk, which means you probably need to throw them away!).
If you don’t have a pair of binoculars, there are many places you can visit online to learn about which binocular you might want to buy. Don’t just consider viewing the comet, because there are a number of binoculars that will provide opportunities for use in daytime and nighttime and offer multiple functionally to be used for sports, viewing the moon, bird watching and there are even binoculars that provide incredible deep sky views of our galaxy.
Celestron has an assortment of binoculars with a wide variety of functionality and pricing. They have astronomy specific binoculars that have special astronomy functionality as well as general use/sport binoculars that will work well for viewing Comet NEOWISE and as well as for daytime use. Of course, a quick Google search will provide a number of binocular options.
If you want to do more research you can check out the Binocular Gurus website where they cover binoculars from A-Z. You might want to check out their article detailing the best binoculars at different price points.
So grab some binoculars, get outside and go experience what may be one of the best views of a comet in our lifetime!
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