While slowly leaving the inner solar system, Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE is surfing our skies, having very interesting encounters on our sky’s dome with stars and deep-sky objects. On August 6, 2020, the Virtual Telescope Project caught it with globular star cluster Messier 53.
The image above comes from the average of five 60-second exposures, unfiltered, remotely taken with the Elena (PlaneWave 17?+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available as part of the Virtual Telescope Project. The sky was bright because of twilight.
Of course, this is just a matter of perspective: comet C/2020 F3 was at about 140 million kilometers (about 90 million miles) from us, while the Messier 53 globular cluster is placed at 58,000 light-years. To put these distances on the same scale, traveling at the speed of light you would reach the comet in almost 8 minutes. Then you would need 58,000 years to reach the cluster!
We at the Virtual Telescope Project covered comet NEOWISE extensively: the images we already released are available for you to enjoy.
Bottom line: A photo from the Virtual Telescope Project in Rome of Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE and the globular star cluster M52.
Gianluca Masi is an Italian astrophysicist and founder of the Virtual Telescope project (part of Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory), consisting in several robotic telescopes, remotely available in real-time over the Internet. Through this system, real-time, online observing sessions are performed, sharing the universe with the world. More than 1 million individuals each year observe the sky through the Virtual Telescope. Gian started his interest in astronomy at childhood, later becoming a professional astronomer, earning a PhD in astronomy in 2006. At the same time, he devoted a lot of efforts to science communication. The asteroid (21795) is named “Masi” in his honor.