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Comet viewing

Comet viewings are planned July 13-15 at Moore Park, along Lakeshore Drive in Klamath Falls. The gatherings are sponsored by the Klamath County Museum, in partnership with Klamath Falls City Parks.

Gatherings to view the comet Neowise will be offered Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, July 13-15, in the parking lot west of Marina II at Moore Park, along Lakeshore Drive. Signs will be posted at the site.

The gatherings are sponsored by the Klamath County Museum, in partnership with Klamath Falls City Parks.

“So far, this newly discovered comet is the most spectacular comet we’ve seen in quite a few years,” said Greg Christensen, an amateur astronomer who volunteers for the museum. “We got some tremendous views in the pre-dawn hours this past week, and we hope the show continues as the comet becomes visible in the evening hours in the coming week.

“I saw Halley’s comet in 1986, and I think this comet might be even better.”

Amateur astronomers will have telescopes available for viewing, but the comet should be easily visible in a pair of binoculars, or perhaps even to the naked eye. Those wishing to attend should gather at sunset, or around 9 p.m.

“Comets are notorious for disappointing skygazers who always hope to see a head and tail streaking across the sky,” said Todd Kepple, museum manager for Klamath County. “So we can’t make any promises about what we’ll see this coming week, but so far Neowise has not been disappointing.”

The comet will be very low in the northwestern sky on Monday evening, and will sink below the horizon shortly after nightfall. The comet will be slightly higher in the sky as the week progresses, but is expected to grow dimmer day by day.

“It’s hard to say when the best view will be. It might even be later in the week. If so, perhaps we’ll plan more gatherings,” Kepple said. “This may be the best comet we see for a long, long time. When it comes to viewing comets, you just have to keep trying.”

The comet will be visible in the west-northwest, and can be viewed from any location with an unobstructed view of the western horizon.

Neowise, named for a NASA telescope that discovered the comet in late March, was unknown to astronomers before this year. Scientists project the comet will not be visible again for more than 6,000 years.

The gatherings at Moore Park are free. Social distancing will be required. For more information contact the Klamath County Museum at 882-1000.