One very welcome visitor flies to Tenerife …

It’s been spectacular, and it’s fading now but its tail is glorious and it’s still visible … and it’s not a bird, or a plane, or even Superman, but Comet Neowise, which has been visible all over the planet and is thought to be the best comet viewing possible since Hale Bopp in 1997!

Nasa says that Neowise is around 5km in diameter with a dust and ion tail (actually a pair of tails) stretching hundreds of thousands to millions of kilometers! And that tail was very clearly visible from Tenerife! The comet was discovered on 27 March this year by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer – hence the name Neowise – as it was heading toward the Sun. It made its closest approach to our star on 3 July and is now heading back towards the outer solar system.

Sometimes we need something like this just to get a bit of a sense of proportion, I feel. And once again, Pete Louer, not just a good personal friend but also a good friend to In Tenerife, has taken a fabulous photo of the night sky in which Neowise stars (I know it’s not a star! 😀 ) Here it is, shot last night from the caldera (click to see full size). Pete takes wonderful astronomy photos, and I imagine he has some prints of this one available too for anyone who might like to buy one – just let me know and I’ll put Pete in touch with you.

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