Saturday: Over the past few months, we have been teased with stories of possible naked eye comets. Or, at least binocular comets. But none have panned out until now. Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) survived its closest approach to the Sun and is moving towards its closest approach to Earth on July 23. This week, the best time to see the comet is about an hour before sunrise. Tomorrow morning, it will be one fist held upright and at arm’s length above the north-northeastern horizon at 4:00 a.m. First find Capella, the bright star about two and a half fists above due northeast. Then, move your gaze about one fist to the lower left to the next bright star, about one fifth as bright as Capella. Finally move your gaze about one fist to the lower left again. That is where Comet NEOWISE is located. You’ll likely need binoculars to find it. By the end of the week and through the rest of the summer, the better viewing will be in the evening. For an added challenge this week, try to spot the comet at both dawn and dusk. For more information about the comet and maps on how to find it, go to https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-news/comet-neowise-delights-at-dawn/.
The positional information in this column about stars and planets is typically accurate for the entire week. For up to date information about the night sky, go to https://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/planner.cfm.