A newly discovered comet is streaking past Earth, providing a stunning night-time show after buzzing the sun and expanding its tail.
Comet Neowise swept within Mercury’s orbit a week ago and its close proximity to the sun caused dust and gas to burn off its surface and create an even greater debris.
Now the comet is heading our way, with closest approach in two weeks.
Nasa’s Neowise infrared space telescope discovered the comet in March.
Scientists involved in the mission said the comet is about three miles across.
Its nucleus is covered with sooty material dating back to the origin of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.
The comet will be visible around the world until mid-August, when it heads back towards the outer solar system.
Night sky, just before dawn from @Space_Station.
Stars, cities, spaceships, and a comet! pic.twitter.com/fCKjrfayC1
— Bob Behnken (@AstroBehnken) July 9, 2020
While it is visible with the naked eye in dark skies with little or no light pollution, binoculars are needed to see the long tail, according to Nasa.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have already caught a glimpse.
Nasa’s Bob Behnken shared a spectacular photo of the comet on social media late on Thursday, showing central Asia in the background and the space station in the foreground.
“Stars, cities, spaceships, and a comet!” he tweeted from orbit.