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Look up and enjoy the view! Comet Neowise streaking across the sky in WNY

Posted at 4:49 PM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 17:28:10-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — They're calling it a once-in-a-lifetime sight. Comet Neowise is the latest discovery by astronomers that's giving stargazers a reason to look up.

"These things are quite unusual and an extraordinarily beautiful phenomenon," UB professor of physics William Kinney said.

The comet measures around three miles in diameter and is quite unheard of. Halley's Comet, for example, comes around every 75 years. Neowise will come around every 7,000.

"It doesn't come around very often," Kinney said. "The next closest approach to the Sun will be at 3:31 P.M. on June 24th in the year 8786."

Which is why images are coming in from all over the globe and many in Western New York have seen it too.

"I saw it on Sunday at about 4 A.M. and it was clearly visible through the naked eye," Kinney said. "You could look up in the sky and see it if you know where to look."

And here's how you can find it.

"The little trick to looking at this is when you look at the Big Dipper, take the biggest part of the bowl and take your fist and go three fistfuls down and a little to the right," 7 First Alert Meteorologist Michelle McLeod said. "That's the best way to view the comet."

NASA recommends using binoculars or a telescope but with the perfect conditions, it can be visible to the naked eye.

Just don't wait much longer.

"We have some nice dry weather on the way but Wednesday night, June 15th, would actually be the best to see it in the immediate future."

"It's only gonna realistically visible for the next week or week and a half," Kinney added. "So people should get out and see it whenever they get the chance."