Tag Archives: comet

C/2020 F3 Neowise is now an Evening comet

Comet Neowise is now a evening comet. Now you can get your entire family to see it because nobody apart from you wanted to get up early at 3 am!

The comet is visible at dusk, after sundown from 8:30 ish looking North by North-West. So all you need is unobstructed view looking North, clear skies and low light pollution.

If you live in Delhi, good luck with that.

skyhound.com published a nice star chart that shows the daily progression of Comet Neowise through the night sky. The chart shows the comet’s path from July 2nd 2020 to July 31st 2020


Clear Skies


Comet neowise C/2020 F3

Comet neowise is the latest attraction of the night sky. Rather it is the latest attraction of the morning sky.

To watch it, wake up around 4 am look east/north-east just before daybreak, the comet is currently just outside the constellation Auriga. Its easily visible to the naked eye at an outstanding magnitude of 3.

But you must hurry, because its hurling towards the sun at a very high speed and may not be visible in a few days when its completely overwhelmed by the sun

Comet Neowise C/2020 F3, image taken by V. Parkash, Minnesota, USA

Comet Green Color is Not Cyanogen

If you’ve read a lot of material out there on comets or seen some lovely images of Comet Lovejoy C2014/Q2 lately, you’ve noticed beautiful green colors in most of these images. Most astronomers and astronomer magazines ( NASA included ) attribute it to emissions from a chemical cyanogen. Cyanogen according to astronomers is radical containing one carbon and one Nitrogen atom . In reality it is NC-CN. The C & N molecules linked by triple bonds. What is more funny is that the green does not come from cyanogen. Here is a picture of what the visible spectrum of Comey Lovejoy looks like. Thanks to Vikrant Agnihotri of Cepheids Astronomy Group for this

Compare this to work done by physicist W.Swan in 1856, who researched emissions from C-C dimers and published their visible spectrum.

swan bands
Visible Emission spectra of Butane. The “Swan bands” are annotated.

As you can tell the images are an exact match. Emission Peaks appear at 520 nm with satellite bands on either side. This wavelength corresponds to what we perceive as “green”. Astronomers seem to have gotten their chemistry totally wrong and its surprising how long this myth has been propagating

Lyrid Meteor Showers Peak Apr 22nd

Earth is passing through a debris field of meteors left behind by Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1). These meteors manifest themselves to us as a Lyrids. Expected activity at peak is 10-20 meteors per hour. But since the weather is nice and warm outside AT NIGHT, its officially time to go out and enjoy these space rocks with friends and family.

Lyrids seem to radiate from the bright star Vega in Lyra ( hence the name Lyrids ). For those who are not that interesting in meteors should know that what they lack in activity they make up in brightness. Lyrid meteors are usually bright and chances of seeing fireballs are good.

Apophis to Impact Earth in 2036?

In 2004, astronomers at Kitt Peak Observatory in Arizona, USA discovered a near earth asteroid, dubiously named 99942 Apophis. The asteroid is about 200 m across in diameter. It became famous for being an asteroid with a rating of 4 on the Torino Imapact Hazard scale. Since 2006, the asteroid had been demoted to 0. However recent studies into the asteroid’s orbit has questioned the accuracy of this rating. Scientist in Russia think that there is a very real chance this asteroid will impact earth in 2036.

This observation has been refuted by NASA. According to Donald Yeomans, director of NASA’s near earth objects office claims that the probability of impact is currently 1/250,000.

Apophis will come within 5 earth radii distance of the earth in 2029. However if the asteroid passes within a region of space called the “keyhole” during this period, the orbit might change enough to cause impact with earth.
The predicted date of impact is April 13, 2036.

Impact Consequences
Apophis carries a massive Kinetic energy of 5.1e+02 Mega Tonnes of TNT equivalent. To put numbers in perspective, the Hiroshima nuclear bomb had a 20 Kilo tonnes yield.

However from preliminary calculations we did based on this article, a Apophis class asteroid will create a 4 Km wide impact crater on a direct hit.

Predicted possible impact locations of Apophis