Comet NEOWISE snapped in stunning detail through northern lights

Comet NEOWISE has been mesmerising stargazers across the northern hemisphere as the giant ball of ice produces a stunning gaseous tail visible to those of us on Earth. While the comet is now getting more distant, stunning images are still rolling in of the mesmeric comet, and no more so than one of NEOWISE and the green Northern Lights.

An image from photographer Isaac Polanski shows the comet in the background of the stunning aurora borealis, as seen from the northern USA.

Mr Polanski told Space Weather: “I was at Wilderness State Park in northern Michigan when the auroras appeared.

“They were vibrant to the naked eye! Comet NEOWISE was still visible to the naked eye, and the mix of the comet and auroras was beautiful.

“One of my best-ever astrophotography experiences!”

Some scientists have warned Comet NEOWISE could be the last comet which could be visible to the naked eye.

Light pollution is increasingly making it difficult for astronomers and amateur stargazers alike, as artificial lighting is constantly on the increase, a team of researchers say.

According to the Natural History museum, light pollution caused by artificial lighting is increasing by an average of six percent a year. And as things get lighter here on Earth, the sky at night seemingly gets darker.

Gareth Dorrian, postdoctoral research fellow in Space Science at the University of Birmingham, and Ian Whittaker, senior lecturer in physics from Nottingham Trent University, said everyone should take advantage of the current comet, the first to be visible from Earth since the 90s, as it could be our last.

The pair wrote in The Conversation: “So comet NEOWISE will only be seen for a few weeks near-Earth while it is near perihelion (its closest approach to the Sun).

“It will then spend thousands of years moving slowly near the other end of its orbit.

“It’s aphelion (farthest point) is estimated at 630 astronomical units (AU), with one AU being the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

“With the constant increase of light pollution in the night sky the observation of comets with the naked eye is becoming much rarer.

“For now, though, NEOWISE presents a fantastic opportunity for millions of people to see a night sky phenomenon which typically only presents itself perhaps once in a decade or more. Enjoy the view!”