Some of the great things about living in Wyoming are the wide open spaces and the unobstructed vistas.
This is especially true when we have a comet viewable with the naked eye. And that time is now.
Comet NEOWISE is now making itself seen for us earthlings and here in Wyoming, that means we’re going to get a good show.
That good show has already made itself visible to the state’s early risers, like our friend Don Day, the meteorologist known as Wyoming’s weatherman.
Day doesn’t have superpowers that give him X-ray vision or anything. It’s just that he gets up at around 3:30 every morning.
So when Comet NEOWISE appears on the horizon an hour later, he gets the view.
For the next few days, the comet will be visible between 4:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. the east-northeast portion of the sky.
Don’t want to get up that early? No problem. Just wait until Monday, when NEOWISE will become an evening comet.
“This is really turning into a good comet,” Day said from his office in the old airport tower in Cheyenne. “We don’t get these very often when you can see them with your naked eye.”
Day said comet fans were worried about NEOWISE because the last two comets predicted to put on a show — Atlas and Swan — broke up as they made their journey around the sun before they could make a close pass of Earth.
Not so with this comet. It made the trip around the sun and is now “hurtling through space to give us some natural fireworks,” Day said.
“NEOWISE isn’t as bright as Hale-Bopp,” Day said, referring to the legendary comet visible from Earth in 1997. But he said it’s a good one.
“If you are an astrophotography buff, you should be able to get some spectacular photos because of our great horizons and topography,” he said.
To watch the comet in the evening starting on Monday, Day suggested looking to the northwest and low on the horizon right about sunset.
“Just look for the Big Dipper and go down from there,” Day said. “You won’t be disappointed.”
Day said great photographs of NEOWISE are available on SpaceWeather.com