Comet NEOWISE is here!!!

Photos and Text by Kerry Lawrence

Have you gone out and observed the new Comet NEOWISE? ( C2020 F3 )   Maybe even thought about photographing it?     I've gone out a few early mornings and have gotten some decent photos.  Yesterday, Monday evening, 7/13, I went out to Pleasant Creek Lake near Palo and shot a few photos with the comet reflecting off of the water.  I thought I would share with you the photos and some of my settings.

Equipment:  

Canon 6d, 50mm lens, 70-200mm lens, tripod, remote shutter release.  This is what I used, but a decent  DSLR or mirrorless camera with a semi fast lens will work just fine. A tripod will be required as the exposure times are 1 sec to 10sec.  A remote shutter release is not required if you don't mind using the 10 second countdown feature on your camera.

Settings:  

 •Apeture: Generally wide open is best. ie: f1.4, f2.8, etc.  No depth of field to worry about so wide-open is good.  ( The more light the better! )

 •ISO:  The lower the better, like ISO 50, or ISO 100. Even up to 800 is acceptable.  Start with the lowest ISO that works, but if your combination of lens and f-stop are still giving you a very dim photo then raise the ISO.  (raise ISO before increasing exposure time. )

 •Exposure time: This depends upon the lens focal length you are using, as the sky and stars are moving.  The longer you expose, the more the stars will move and star trails will appear.  If shooting at 24mm – 50mm,  then up to maybe 10secs is OK.  At 200mm or more, 2-3secs is about as long as you want to go.

When:  

  Morning: 3:45 -4:15AM

  Evening: 9:15 -10:30PM

Comet NEOWISE is currently both a morning and an evening comet.  Its proximity to the north pole is such that it rarely sets.  Over the next few weeks it will become more or less an evening comet as it's path will carry it further from the sun. However, as with most comets, the longer you wait to observe it, the further it will get from the sun, and the fainter it will be become.

Where:

Morning: 90-60 mins before sunrise, look ENE.  Just northernly of where the sun will rise.  Look about 10 degress above the horizon.  You will need binoculars.

Evening: Face north and look just to the left, west.  About 1/3 the way to where the sun set.  Again,  look about 10 degrees above the horizon.  You will need binoculars.

If you stay at it, and the sky is clear, you will be rewarded with this cool sight.  And decent post-processing makes it look .. WOW!

Good luck, Kerry Lawrence

LINKS:

Observing info:

https://earthsky.org/space/how-to-see-comet-c2020-f3-neowise

Online astronomy program

https://stellarium-web.org/

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