C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), or Comet NEOWISE, is a retrograde comet with a near-parabolic orbit discovered on March 27, 2020 by the NEOWISE space telescope. The comet is expected to remain visible to the naked eye in July.
Comet NEOWISE passed closest to the Sun on July 3, 2020 at a distance of 0.29 AU (43 million km). The comet was less than 20 degrees from the Sun from June 11, 2020 until July 9, 2020. By June 10, 2020 as the comet was being lost to the glare of the Sun, it was apparent magnitude 7. When the comet entered the field of view of SOHO LASCO C3 on June 22, 2020 the comet had brightened to magnitude 3. As of July, Comet NEOWISE has brightened to magnitude +1, far exceeding the brightness attained by C/2020 F8 (SWAN), and the comet has developed a second tail. The first tail is made of gas and the later second tail is made of dust.
Closest approach to Earth will occur July 23, 2020 at a distance of 0.69 AU (103 million km). This perihelion passage will increase the comet’s orbital period from about 4500 years to about 6800 years.