Watch CBS News

Neowise, one of the brightest comets in decades, is closest to Earth today

Rare Comet Neowise soars across Earth
Comet Neowise is passing Earth for the first time in almost 6,800 years 00:34

Neowise, one of the brightest comets in decades, has brought with it a stunning debris trail this month, delighting skywatchers around the world. Its closest approach to Earth comes today, July 22, at a distance of about 64 million miles.

Throughout July, the newly-discovered comet, formally named Comet C2020 F3 NEOWISE by NASA, has been visible both in the early hours before sunrise, and later in the evening after sunset. To view it, people in the Northern Hemisphere can look to the northwestern sky, just below Ursa Major, commonly known as the Big Dipper constellation. 

Astrophotographers, as well as astronauts aboard the International Space Station, have captured the stunning celestial phenomenon, which will continue to bring spectacular sightings into early August. After that, the comet will begin its journey away from Earth back toward the outer solar system.

The event is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience — the comet takes about 6,800 years to complete its path around the sun, according to NASA. 

Southern California

The National Weather Service shared this photo of Comet Neowise, taken by William T. Reid in Southern California. It was shot from Moorpark, northwest of Los Angeles, looking north to northwest across the Topatopa Mountains. William T. Reid @stormbruiser

Czech Republic

Comet Neowise streaks above Brno, Czech Republic before daybreak on July 10, 2020. Miloslav Druckmuller (Brno University of Technology)


Comet Neowise Shining Above The Port Of Molfetta
Comet Neowise shining at sunset above the Port of Molfetta in Molfetta on July 11, 2020. Davide Pischettola/NurPhoto via Getty Image

French Alps

Neowise is seen in the eastern French Alps, along with noctilucent clouds, on July 8, 2020. Emmanuel Paoly


Hungary Comet
The Comet NEOWISE or C/2020 F3 is seen above Salgotarjan, Hungary, early Friday, July 10, 2020.  Peter Komka/AP

International Space Station 

Neowise is seen from the International Space Station on July 5. NASA, ISS Expedition 63


Comet Neowise
Comet Neowise observed from Beijing, China on July 7, 2020.  Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

New York

New Jersey

Comet Neowise photographed from North Wildwood, New Jersey, on July 8, 2020. Chris Bakley


Comet NEOWISE is seen on a clear summer night over a
BRIHUEGA, GUADALAJARA, SPAIN - 2020/07/20: Comet Neowise is seen on a clear summer night over a lavender field near the village of Brihuega, Spain, on July 20, 2020.  Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket via Getty Images
Comet C/2020 F3 Neowise Near Barcelona
Neowise is seen above the mountain of Montserrat, near Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, on July 9, 2020. Albert Llop/NurPhoto via Getty Images


Comet C / 2020 F3 Neowise
Neowise is seen above Turkey's Van province on July 11, 2020. Ozkan Bilgin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images


A stork stands on a power lines pole as the comet C/2020 F3, known as Neowise, is seen in the sky above the village of Kreva, Belarus, early on July 13, 2020. SERGEI GAPON/AFP via Getty Images




Neowise is seen over Lebanon just before sunrise on July 5, 2020. Maroun Habib (Moophz)


NEOWISE comet over Ryazan, Russia
Neowise streaks across the night sky over the Epiphany Church of the Transfiguration Monastery in Ryazan, Russia on July 13, 2020.  Alexander Ryumin\TASS via Getty Images

United Kingdom

Comet NEOWISE Is Seen Over Stonehenge
 Comet Neowise passes over Stonehenge in the early hours of July 21, 2020 in Salisbury, England. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Summer weather July 14th 2020
Neowise passes St Mary's Lighthouse in Whitley Bay on July 14, 2020. Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images


Belarus Comet
Neowise is seen behind an Orthodox church over Turets, Belarus on July 14, 2020. Sergei Grits / AP

Los Angeles


Comet Neowise is seen in the sky, above the "Seven Magic Mountains" art installation by artist Ugo Rondinone, in Jean, Nevada on July 15, 2020.  DAVID BECKER/AFP via Getty Images


Comet Neowise over the Mont-Saint-Michel in western France on July 22, 2020. LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images


Comet C/2020 F3 Neowise Visible From Greece
Comet Neowise after the sunset over the fields and hills of Oreokastro, near Thessaloniki in Greece on July 21, 2020. Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.