SWAN Comet: How to see the brightest comet of the year in the UK this week

If you look at the sky this week, you may notice a mysterious bright light above you.

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But before you worry about an alien invasion, luckily there’s a simple explanation – it’s a comet!

The comet, called Comet C / 2002 F8 / 2020 (SWAN), will be visible from the UK until mid-June and is believed to be the brightest comet we will see in 2020.

The SWAN comet was first discovered in late March in satellite images of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.

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The Royal Astronomical Society explained: “Comets are objects made of rocks and ice cream – and can be from the size of mountains to the size of the Isle of Wight.

“For most of their orbits, comets are far from the sun, traveling through the cold of space, and are asleep. When they get closer, things change: they get hot, ice cream starts to turn into gas and jets of gas and dust come out of the comet's surface.

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Comet C / 2002 F8 / 2020 (SWAN)

“The radiation pressure from sunlight and the solar wind sweeps gas and dust in long tails that can span tens of millions of kilometers.

"These tails can be extraordinarily beautiful and appear in many of astronomy's best drawings and photographs."

The SWAN comet is quite bright, but faded, and the best chance to see it in the UK is in the last week of May until early June.

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The SWAN comet is quite bright, but faded, and the best chance to see him in the UK is the last week of May to early June

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The Royal Astronomical Society advised: "With the help of a pair of binoculars, the comet should be visible in the northwest sky after sunset, very close to the horizon".

If you don't have binoculars, don't panic – you may be able to see the comet with the naked eye.

The Royal Astronomical Society added: “Lucky viewers may even see it with the naked eye – some astronomers in the southern hemisphere have already done so – but the twilight sky and SWAN's low altitude won't make it any easier. . "

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