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July 11, 2020

Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE the July 2020 Surprise

by John A. Blackwell

This has been quite a year. Now, add to this a bright new comet, and it gets a little better, yes? Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE: Named after the Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer’s asteroid hunting mission [https://neowise.ipac.caltech.edu/], this comet has become visible to the unaided eye, and, for now, is a morning object rising just before the Sun in the northeast sky. By the week of July 13th, the comet will be more of an early evening object, and it should also be getting fainter as it heads both away from Earth and the Sun.

Weather here in New Hampshire is not forgiving to astronomers. In July we typically have high humidity and heat. Add to that some vertical temperature instability, and thunderstorms will be the rule followed by wet foggy mornings once dew point is reached. We did have one clear morning this week, and that allowed for some quick imaging of comet NEOWISE. Be sure to click on the images to see in larger format.

Equipment used:

  • Nikon D-810a with 28-300mm zoom lens at 150mm at f/3.5 and Optolong L-Pro light pollution reduction filter.
  • Nikon D-810 with 300mm telephoto at f/4.
  • Tripods with slow motion controls: untracked.

Those looking to spot the comet should bring with them a pair of binoculars and the information provided in this article from Sky & Telescope. Be sure to find a viewing location away from ground fog, and with a low horizon.  A Bright New Visitor: How to Spot Comet NEOWISE [https://skyandtelescope.org/press-releases/new-bright-visitor-comet-neowise/]

Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE

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