Comet NEOWISE

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JeremyS

EF3
Mar 12, 2014
262
339
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Omaha, NE
I'm a little surprised there hasn't been a thread already started for this, so I guess I will start one!
I've always been interested in all things science since I was a little kid including rocks, geology, and volcanoes, to astronomy, to of course weather.
As luck would have it, I was up camping on the Missouri River west of Yankton, SD this past weekend. Once the pictures started coming out on the internet of the comet and updates stating you can see the comet with the naked eye, I knew I had to bring my camera equipment and see what I could grab.
The first night, Thursday night(Friday AM)7/9, I went out about 445a, sure that somehow I wouldn't be able to see it, but I could immediately see it before even getting out my binoculars! I hurriedly ran back inside our cabin and grabbed my stuff. I was able to get some pictures, but the light from the approaching sunrise soon blocked out the comet.
The next night, I knew to wake up earlier to have more time and so I woke up about 4a before the first light started showing on the horizon. I did some zoomed in shots up to 600mm first with my telephoto lens, and then ended with some shots on my 18-55 mm lens so I could get the Missouri River and some of the other foreground.
On Saturday night, I decided to look for it just after sunset while my family and I sat around the campfire. I finally was able to see it about 1.5 hours after sunset (1030p), but had to use my binoculars to see it. I still got out my camera equipment though and grabbed pics of it setting below the NW horizon. This was pretty cool as well because the comet had almost a reddish tint to it just like a sunset.
I turned around got right back up at 4am to take some more shots on our last night of camping. I ended up with over 300 shots, my 8 year old cousin is now addicted to comets and astronomy, and these are my first shots of a comet I've ever taken!
I'm planning on heading out again this weekend when the best part of viewing is now supposed to be 1-2 hours after sunset instead of before sunrise.
Here's the first few edits I've done and if I have any other good/different ones I will post those as well!

closeup.jpg

Neowise.jpg

Gavins.jpg
 

JeremyS

EF3
Mar 12, 2014
262
339
11
Omaha, NE
Processed an image from the last night I was camping and was able to see the comet about 1.5 hours after sunset. The glow of the sun setting lasted forever even after it set so it was pretty hard to see and only with binoculars/camera at that point.
However, what was really cool was that the comet had almost a orangish, fiery glow to it as it was setting behind the northwest horizon as well! sunset comet.jpg
 

Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
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Oct 7, 2008
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Broomfield, CO
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Planning on driving into Park County this weekend to do some night photography and hope to catch the comet. It seems like it is harder to see the further south you go, but at Colorado latitudes it should be reasonable.

Saw a link to this tool that can tell you when you should be able to see it and where to look based on location. Very helpful: http://neowise.whatsupin.space/
 

James K

EF3
Mar 26, 2019
286
105
6
Colorado
If the clouds clear out (and I remember) I'll have to go out tonight & see if I can see it from home...If I stand on the roof, I have a pretty good view to the northeast (other than the fact I'd be looking overtop of Denver, city light might wash it out?)

If that doesn't work, there's a possible place where it'd be allot darker that .might. just work out: me & my brother may be going camping this weekend anyway (actually its in the same county Jeff mentioned - Park County), though I'm not sure if the view to the northeast where we'll be is blocked by trees or not - I've never really paid attention.
 

Jeff Duda

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Oct 7, 2008
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If the clouds clear out (and I remember) I'll have to go out tonight & see if I can see it from home...If I stand on the roof, I have a pretty good view to the northeast (other than the fact I'd be looking overtop of Denver, city light might wash it out?)
If you're looking after sunset it will be visible in the northwest sky, not the northeastern sky.
 

James K

EF3
Mar 26, 2019
286
105
6
Colorado
If you're looking after sunset it will be visible in the northwest sky, not the northeastern sky.
Oops I Guess I missed that part.
I'm not sure if the mountains will block my view to the northwest at home (I'm guessing they probably will since from my understanding its pretty low in the sky.) but atleast I'm not looking right towards the city. I think I'll still go try just for the heck of it :)

I know my northwest view is blocked where I camp.
 

James K

EF3
Mar 26, 2019
286
105
6
Colorado
I went out & looked last night....and saw nothing.
The clouds had all cleared, but it was kinda hazy(or maybe it was wildfire smoke)
Looking in any sort of northerly direction not even stars...
Plan to try again tonight if the clouds clear.
 
I went out & looked last night....and saw nothing.
The clouds had all cleared, but it was kinda hazy(or maybe it was wildfire smoke)
Looking in any sort of northerly direction not even stars...
Plan to try again tonight if the clouds clear.
My apologies if I'm understanding what you said incorrectly, but you will not be able to see it with the naked eye - even on a clear night. Maybe if you have good eyes, a completely dark sky, and give your eyes plenty of time to calibrate you could see it, but my understanding is that some sort of "assistance" is required.

Last evening (about 10-11pm CDT), I was finally able to get out and try to witness it. It is roughly vertically aligned between the lowest most star of the Big Dipper and the horizon, but closer to the horizon. I used a wider angle lens on my camera with a long exposure to try to pick it up, and once I did, I was able to use a zoom lens to focus in on it. I was still able to pick it up through thin, mid-level clouds/haze and light pollution, though, it's not going to look as good as some of the clear-sky pictures seen in this thread and elsewhere. Still cool to see!
 
Oct 26, 2007
202
48
11
Topeka, Kansas
In a dark sky, you can see it with the naked eye, even if you find it first with binoculars. Although I haven't been able to see it yet because of clouds and work schedule, a friend of mine who is retired has seen it on several mornings and evenings. His eyes are trained to see things in the sky, because both he and myself have been interested in astronomy for many years. If I see it and photograph it, I will post a pic.
 

JeremyS

EF3
Mar 12, 2014
262
339
11
Omaha, NE
My pics were taken at 4-430 am and I could clearly see it with the naked eye in the northeast sky. In fact, I was surprised how easy it was to see.
When I looked just after sunset, it was much harder to see and I had to find it with my binoculars in the northwest sky.
 

James K

EF3
Mar 26, 2019
286
105
6
Colorado
@Alex Elmore:
I'd read somewhere you could see it with the naked eye (but for a real good view you'd need binoculars or a telescope). So I figured I'd have a look to see if I could see anything (then if I could have, maybe find the binoculars).

Where I'm at is far from a dark sky...the light pollution has gotten bad to the north. (looking south isn't so bad, but you'll never see the milky way or dim stars or anything like that). I hadn't realized just how bad it'd gotten here.
I can see the big dipper since its brighter stars & higher in the sky this time of year...but anything below the big dipper, that's all gone! no stars or anything else visible. I made a point to look northeast last night as well...that's deff worse than northwest.
 
Last night, I learned first hand that I was incorrect in saying it couldn't be seen with the naked eye, so my apologies for making that claim. Thursday night, I did not put much effort into distancing myself from light pollution, and relative to sky conditions preferred for star gazing, there was considerable cloudiness. As I mentioned in my prior post, I could not see it myself, but my camera could still pick it up.

Last evening (Friday), I drove about 45 min to an open field north of major light pollution sources in my area. There were sheets of high-level clouds, and an increase in low- to mid-level moisture has brought a degree of haze to the area, but once I let my eyes adjust, I could make it out myself! I do recommend using the link Jeff Duda posted earlier in this thread to determine the best time to see it for a given location. It was much easier to see it when it was higher above the horizon, which is going to be around the time it first appears.
 

James K

EF3
Mar 26, 2019
286
105
6
Colorado
Where I was camping in Park County last night has (to me atleast) a good dark sky & great view of the stars - with exception of very low in the northeast, a bit of light pollution from CO-Springs. The view there is spectacular compared to anything at home.

As mentioned in a previous post, my low northwest view is blocked by trees, but I wandered around a bit trying to find a spot, and pretty sure I saw part of the tail through a couple small breaks in the trees.
 
Mar 2, 2004
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Wichita, KS
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Got stupid lucky with my shots last night... when I left Wichita, I was not even considering storms as part of the equation, but some popped about 70 miles to my northeast while I was shooting. I widended out to 18mm to get the distant storm and comet in the same frame when that storm decided to spit out a vivid CG from the side of the tower. I about lost my mind :D

 

Jeff Duda

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Oct 7, 2008
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Broomfield, CO
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Drove out to Park County near Fairplay on Saturday and was able to manage to see the comet, but it wasn't a perfect setup. I think a combination of getting out there a little later than I should have, the Tenmile/Mosquito Range rising further off the horizon than I anticipated, and some distant clouds kinda fouled up my shot. Oh, yeah, and then there was the power lines that I honestly did not notice until I stopped the car. But they ran in both directions for miles on this side of the road...FML.

But...I could see the two tails! Good enough for me.
July_2020_023.JPG
 

Jeremy Perez

Supporter
This thing has been such a welcome diversion from the crummy overall plague situation and meager storm opportunities. It isn't scaled to Hale-Bopp or Hyakutake greatness, but wow is it impressive photographically and visually. From a clear dark sky I was able to make out about 17 degrees of the dust tail naked eye a couple nights ago. The ion tail was a marginal catch naked eye, but was straightforward through 15x70 binoculars. This is from 7,000 ft under very dark skies so mileage will vary based on haze and light pollution.

Visual observation sketches from the 18th:

Naked eye sketch from Robinson Crater, Arizona (ion tail visually discernible as left edge of a seemingly darker notch between the two tails:
img20200718-C2020F3-NEOWISE-NakedEye-Sketch_1280px.jpg

15x70 binocular sketch, also from Robinson Crater, Arizona (ion tail clearly visible):
img20200718-C2020F3-NEOWISE-15x70-Sketch_1280px.jpg

A couple photographs that have me loving how awesome this comet is and the opportunity to see and document it:

Morning of July 9th from Wupatki National Monument, Arizona:
img20200709-IMG_8533-Edit-Edit_1280px.jpg

Evening of July 15th from west of Ash Fork, Arizona:
imgimgimg20200715-IMG_0219_FULL-Mean Min Hor Noise_FULL-StarSize-StarGlow-SkyContrast_1280px.jpg

More images:
8-18 July 2020
7 July 2020
6 July 2020
5 July 2020
 

James K

EF3
Mar 26, 2019
286
105
6
Colorado
Seeing these more recent pic's (especially those by Jeff Duda & Scott Weberpal .. yep, it was deff the tail of that that I saw through the trees up in Park County on Saturday.
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
My son and I got a glimpse of the comet last night. Where we live in the Philadelphia suburbs, there is no way to escape light pollution without driving for hours. But we went to a field in a local park to get a decent view of the NW sky without being too close to any trees or buildings. It took a long time to find it and was really not visible with the naked eye but we were able to find it with binoculars. It’s weird, I don’t know if anybody else had this experience, but although I said I couldn’t see it with the naked eye there were times that I could sort of see a faint streak, almost like a wisp of cloud, out of my peripheral vision, but then when I tried to focus on it I couldn’t see it without binoculars. Anyway, it was pretty cool to see what basically looked like a star with a streak attached (almost looked as if it were a flashlight shining its beam upward) and to know we were seeing a comet. Weren‘t able to see anything like the pictures posted here. It was more like when you see a star and it’s nice to know that it’s a planet but as far as visuals it’s still just a star. Although of course stars don’t have tails so that was pretty cool!

I have a digital SLR and usually use it in an automatic mode, I don’t know much about manual settings, but did set it to “bulb” and held the shutter open long enough to capture a slightly blurred and discolored image. Nothing even worth mentioning compared to the amazing shots you all got, it was kind of like one of those photographs that purports to capture a ghost on film, but at least enough to prove we saw it and save the memory.

The best part was sharing it with my son, who is 17. He has not yet been storm chasing with me so it was nice to share that experience of being out there on a dark night where it’s just you and the sky, reminiscent of that feeling you get on those nights on the Plains under a quiet starry sky while a flashing supercell chugs away in the distance... It was great to see him persist in trying to find it, in fact he located it first. Great to see his awe and wonder at the heavens. It was cool because it wasn’t just there to be so easily seen, there was the satisfaction of having to search it out, a memorable mini “quest” of sorts...

Not sure if I will head out to see it again. It’s supposed to be at its highest point in the sky on July 23 but I don’t imagine that will change its appearance or make it any easier to see.
 
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Randy Jennings

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May 18, 2013
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It’s weird, I don’t know if anybody else had this experience, but although I said I couldn’t see it with the naked eye there were times that I could sort of see a faint streak, almost like a wisp of cloud, out of my peripheral vision, but then when I tried to focus on it I couldn’t see it without binoculars.
I had the exact same experience on the outskirts of the DFW metroplex.
 
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