Maui News

Timelapse Video of Comet NEOWISE Setting Behind Maui’s Haleakalā

July 19, 2020, 1:26 PM HST
* Updated July 19, 11:53 PM
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W. M. Keck Observatory Staff Astronomer Josh Walawender captured images of the Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) during twilight on Friday, July 17, 2020 from Mauna Loa on Hawaiʻi Island and created this incredible timelapse.

The video shows the comet setting, with Haleakalā on Maui in the background and the west slope of Maunakea in the foreground.

These images/timelapse sequences were not taken with Keck Observatory telescopes on Maunakea; Walawender captured the comet from Mauna Loa using his personal camera.

More about this comet at his blog here.


According to NASA, NEOWISE was discovered on March 27, 2020 by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission (hence the name NEOWISE), After its appearance this month, NASA reports it will not to be seen again for another 6,800 years.


NASA reports that stargazers can view the three-mile wide comet with binoculars, a telescope, and “if you’re lucky, even the naked eye,” through July 23, according to NASA.

More information on how to view NEOWISE is available via NASA here.

Also in the night sky, Saturn shines its brightest on Monday, July 20, as it hits opposition–forming a straight line between the Sun, Earth and Saturn.  The Bishop Museum J. Watumull Planetarium notes that the ringed planet rises at sunset, is overhead all night and sets at dawn.
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