By Sean Moriarty
An amateur astronomy enthusiast captured stunning images of Comet Neowise over Barraduff last weekend.
The comet has been visible over Ireland for the last few nights and will continue in the Earth’s orbit for at least another week.
It is the first comet visible to the naked eye to pass through planet Earth’s solar system since Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997.
Local photographer Trevor O’Donoghue captured the stunning pictures seen here from his Barraduff home last Friday night.
“All pictures were taken with a phone. I should have got the camera out, but I was enjoying the view too much,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “It is visible to the naked eye as the sky darkens, but is a stunning sight in standard binoculars with a golden tail extending out behind it.”
The comet will remain visible until at least July 23 – cloud cover permitting.
“It is fading a slight bit, but it is closest to Earth on July 23, so there is a bit in it yet,” added Trevor. “It is visible above the north western horizon after sunset. Conveniently it is located under the Big Dipper and The Plough.”
Neowise was first discovered by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer in March.
On July 3 it passed the closest point of its orbit to the sun, known as the perihelion, at just 44 million kilometres from the star, a stage that many comets do not survive.
It is also considered unusual for the comet’s ‘tail’ to remain visible after the perihelion.