Monday, July 20, 2020

Looking for the comet Neowise


Waiting for the comet Neowise

The Orlando city generates way too much light pollution, so we drove out to a boat ramp on Highway 50 last night. A few cars were there already with people setting up their cameras. Come to find out this is a favorite spot for the locals to explore the night sky.





Weird light display at sundown

The darkness came and with it the mosquitoes. We did see bats, watched the blinking of the fireflies, heard alligators talking in the distance... and finally we could see the stars. By now more cars slowly rolled in with their lights off not to bother the stargazers.


Hubs is setting up his Telescope

Neowise was there, like promised, under the Big Dipper just a little to the left. A smudge of a comet. We saw it without aid, better with the binoculars and nicely with the telescope. Of course, to be able to see it at all makes it unique and it is rare to be able to see a comet with the naked eye, even if it is just a smudge.


Can you see it?

 This picture was taken with my cellphone (Pixel 3 XL) and shows how I actually saw Neowise with the naked eye. For sure not even close to the photographs posted all over the internet.


The comet Neowise sure is no Hale Bopp

After gawking for a good long while at Neowise, we turned the telescope around to look at more satisfying targets, the orange banded Jupiter and Saturn with its impressive rings.
We also admired the beautiful constellation of Scorpius, it looked like the stars were dancing above the waters of the St. John River.

All the pictures on the internet show the comet Neowise so gloriously shiny I would have missed it if I would not know what to look for.


Picture of Neowise, credit: https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/international-space-station-and-comet-neowise

So now we have to wait for 6,800 years for Neowise to show up again in our night sky. What will be by then, will the Earth be ruined or will Neowise find us matured, grown up and responsible?

More about Neowise on the NASA webpage: 'How to see Comet Neowise'


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