WINNIPEG -- Stargazers in Manitoba can get a glimpse of the brightest comet in years as it hurtles past Earth over the next several days.

Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3, named after the satellite that first discovered it, has been travelling towards Earth in recent days, before it returns to the outer edges of the solar system.

Photos submitted from Manitobans show the comet as it appeared in the morning sky on Thursday.

Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3

(Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3 is pictured over Winnipeg in a pair of photos take July 9, 2020. Source: Roy Jemison)

comet neowise

(Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3 is visible over Steinbach on July 9, 2020. SOURCE: Christopher Bleasdale)

Scott Young, who is the manager of the Planetarium and Science Gallery at the Manitoba Museum, said this comet wasn't expected to be as bright as it is.

"This wasn't predicted to be all that impressive but as it swung around the sun, it suddenly burst into brightness," said Young.

It’s one of the few “naked-eye comets” of the 21st century, meaning it can be seen without a telescope. The comet was first discovered on March 27, 2020, and NASA was unsure if it would make it to Earth as the comet travelled towards the sun.

Young said over the next several days this will be the only time to see the comet.

"We won't see it again for at least 6,000 years. So it's kind of your only chance."


(SOURCE: Scott Young/Manitoba Museum)

Young added the reason why this comet is so unique is because of how bright it is.

"I can count on the fingers of one hand how many comets we've had that have been this impressive. I mean, I have seen a lot of comets, but there's only a couple that have outshone this in my entire lifetime."

NASA said the comet will likely be visible in the early morning sky until July 11. It will be visible in the early evening sky after July 11.

Young says if people want to see it, it's best to be away from the city and all the lights.


(SOURCE: Scott Young/Manitoba Museum)

- With files from CTV’s Jackie Dunham.


This is a corrected story. The original story said the comet was discovered in 2009, when it was discovered this year.