ISS astronaut captures mind-blowing video of Comet Neowise soaring past Earth
A HUGE comet fizzing past Earth has been captured in dramatic footage recorded from the International Space Station.
Posted to social media on Tuesday, the timelapse video shows the icy object Neowise trailed by its dazzling white tail.
Viewers may be forgiven for thinking the comet is heading towards Earth in the clip, but this is just a trick of the eye.
In fact, Neowise is currently soaring past Earth in a flyby that is expected to last all week and lead to bright sightings from Earth and the ISS.
The video was captured on July 5 from one of the space station's many external cameras, and posted online by citizen scientist Seán Doran.
Footage and photos from the ISS are available for free online, allowing anyone to download and edit them.
Seán compressed seven minutes of real-time video into a 20-second clip.
His edit shows Earth spinning below the ISS before Neowise rises from beyond the horizon.
The footage also captures bright blue noctilucent clouds – also known as high altitude “night shining” or “space clouds.”
These appear when sunlight shines off of ice particles in the upper atmosphere during astronomical twilight.
What is the ISS?
Here's what you need to know about the International Space Station…
- The International Space Station, often abbreviated to ISS, is a large space craft that orbits Earth and houses astronauts who go up there to complete scientific missions
- Many countries worked together to build it and they work together to use it
- It is made up of many pieces, which astronauts had to send up individually on rockets and put together from 1998 to 2000
- Ever since the year 2000, people have lived on the ISS
- Nasa uses the station to learn about living and working in space
- It is approximately 250 miles above Earth and orbits around the planet just like a satellite
- Living inside the ISS is said to be like living inside a big house with five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a gym, lots of science labs and a big bay window for viewing Earth
Neowise was only discovered by Nasa in March.
It will come within 103million km of Earth – about four times further from our planet than the Moon – during its closest approach on July 23.
The comet should be visible from the northern hemisphere this month, which includes the UK and the US.
People have reported seeing Neowise with the naked eye but binoculars will still be very useful.
It's currently said to be visible from mid-northern latitudes just before sunrise and after sunset.
Right now, Neowise is moving westwards from the constellation of Auriga. By mid-July it will have moved into Lynx and should be visible all night.
There are many smartphone apps that can point you in the right direction of constellations in the sky.
They include Night Sky on iOS and SkySafari on Android.
In other space news, Venus will be shining at its brightest this week.
Nasa has shared an image of rare 'red sprite' lightning that looks scarily similar to an alien invasion.
And, an ex Nasa genius is selling the 'smell of space' in a perfume bottle.
What would you wish for if you saw a shooting star? Let us know in the comments…
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