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Thread: Comet Neowise

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    UofU/BYU mixed marriage Scott R Nelson's Avatar
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    Default Comet Neowise

    I only recently found out that the Neowise comet is visible for a little while. Gotta go out of my way to view eclipses and comets, you know.

    So I woke up about 1:30 a.m. a few nights ago and went out in the back yard to see if I could observe it. When you live on the very south end of a city of over 100,000 people and want to look at a rather pale comet that is currently to the north of you, you're not going to see anything due to the light pollution. I can see the brighter stars from there, like those of the big dipper, but forget seeing the comet, even with binoculars.

    Getting more serious about it, last night as it was starting to get dark, my wife and I headed north through the mountains toward Idaho City to see if we could find a place dark enough and flat enough to see it. I wanted to see if I could photograph it. All of the spots we came upon with a good enough view to the north had too many lights around them and all of the spots that were dark enough had mountains or pine trees in the way. Finally just past Idaho city we found a potential spot, stopped, and tried to see it.

    I had a photo of how to observe it on my phone. Find the big dipper, look directly down from it about the distance of half of the dipper and handle, and it should be there. After staring at that area for half a minute, we could see something fuzzy that must be it. After letting our eyes adjust a couple of minutes more it was clearly visible. It's not real bright, but if you get somewhere dark enough you can see it with the naked eye. Anywhere dark enough to see the Milky Way is dark enough to see the comet.

    I made repeated attempts to photograph it with my digital camera and utterly failed at that. You might be able to do it with a digital SLR, but my Canon SX-50 camera is 100% digital, so it was impossible to aim it using the viewfinder and maximum exposure is only 15 seconds. I managed a couple of photos that clearly show all of the stars of the big dipper, but the rest are either totally black or black with smears where the stars should be, even though it was on a tripod.

    Still, we felt the trip was worth it to personally see another comet.

    If you have the chance the next few nights, go someplace dark where you can see to the north near the horizon and see the comet. It's best to observe it when it first gets dark enough or in the morning just before it starts to get light. Apparently it rotates below the horizon in between.

    Happy comet hunting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott R Nelson View Post
    I only recently found out that the Neowise comet is visible for a little while. Gotta go out of my way to view eclipses and comets, you know.

    So I woke up about 1:30 a.m. a few nights ago and went out in the back yard to see if I could observe it. When you live on the very south end of a city of over 100,000 people and want to look at a rather pale comet that is currently to the north of you, you're not going to see anything due to the light pollution. I can see the brighter stars from there, like those of the big dipper, but forget seeing the comet, even with binoculars.

    Getting more serious about it, last night as it was starting to get dark, my wife and I headed north through the mountains toward Idaho City to see if we could find a place dark enough and flat enough to see it. I wanted to see if I could photograph it. All of the spots we came upon with a good enough view to the north had too many lights around them and all of the spots that were dark enough had mountains or pine trees in the way. Finally just past Idaho city we found a potential spot, stopped, and tried to see it.

    I had a photo of how to observe it on my phone. Find the big dipper, look directly down from it about the distance of half of the dipper and handle, and it should be there. After staring at that area for half a minute, we could see something fuzzy that must be it. After letting our eyes adjust a couple of minutes more it was clearly visible. It's not real bright, but if you get somewhere dark enough you can see it with the naked eye. Anywhere dark enough to see the Milky Way is dark enough to see the comet.

    I made repeated attempts to photograph it with my digital camera and utterly failed at that. You might be able to do it with a digital SLR, but my Canon SX-50 camera is 100% digital, so it was impossible to aim it using the viewfinder and maximum exposure is only 15 seconds. I managed a couple of photos that clearly show all of the stars of the big dipper, but the rest are either totally black or black with smears where the stars should be, even though it was on a tripod.

    Still, we felt the trip was worth it to personally see another comet.

    If you have the chance the next few nights, go someplace dark where you can see to the north near the horizon and see the comet. It's best to observe it when it first gets dark enough or in the morning just before it starts to get light. Apparently it rotates below the horizon in between.

    Happy comet hunting.
    Took the family out Friday night. Parked on the frontage road east of Saltaire. Had a pretty good view of it, especially with binoculars, but couldn't get a picture. To many lights from I-80 behind and the readouts in my viewfinder kept me from seeing it. Then my remote was giving me grief. Still a fun family experience. I'll need to read some manualsbefore attempting night shooting again
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    Huge Member BigPiney's Avatar
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    A friend of mine got a good picture of it.

    We went out last night to see it and were looking from our street. It is really dark here so we could see it ok. (I see the Milky Way from my front lawn.)

    While out in the middle of the street last night my daughter heard something coming down the street, thought it may be a cat, but it was pretty big. Turns out it was huge coyote, very healthy. Much be eating a bunch of bunnies. It walked within 10 ft of us. We backed towards our house and it continued its way down the street.

    Back to the comet, we used binoculars and could see it ok, but not great.

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    Huge Member BigPiney's Avatar
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    my friend's picture

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    UofU/BYU mixed marriage Scott R Nelson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigPiney View Post


    my friend's picture
    That is really good. I'll never be able to take a photo like that with my current equipment.

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    Senior Member Katy Lied's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copelius View Post
    Took the family out Friday night. Parked on the frontage road east of Saltaire. Had a pretty good view of it, especially with binoculars, but couldn't get a picture. To many lights from I-80 behind and the readouts in my viewfinder kept me from seeing it. Then my remote was giving me grief. Still a fun family experience. I'll need to read some manualsbefore attempting night shooting again
    But was it stinky?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Lied View Post
    But was it stinky?
    Not really, except for when we passed the burnt brownie smell of a bunch of cars parked at the gate to Saltaire.
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    Bald not naked Pelado's Avatar
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    How much magnification will be required to get a decent look at this comet? 10x? 20x?

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    UofU/BYU mixed marriage Scott R Nelson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelado View Post
    How much magnification will be required to get a decent look at this comet? 10x? 20x?
    Zero worked for me.

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    Members Only Dwight Schr-ute's Avatar
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    We went out to the desert Saturday night and I took a couple snags with my Canon 5D and a tripod. I was having a hell of a time with the focus and should have probably tried using the digital view screen but just used the eye piece. I went with a 30 second exposure, at different zoom lengths on my 100-400 lens. First attempt at star photography and meh.







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    Chronic Poseur USUC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwight Schr-ute View Post
    We went out to the desert Saturday night and I took a couple snags with my Canon 5D and a tripod. I was having a hell of a time with the focus and should have probably tried using the digital view screen but just used the eye piece. I went with a 30 second exposure, at different zoom lengths on my 100-400 lens. First attempt at star photography and meh.







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    Last month we went stargazing in the west desert and I convinced my wife to bring her old digital camera to get pics of the milky way. She didn't think they would turn out as it's not a great camera. They weren't bad but she had to tinker with it a bit. Your pictures look great. Did you read up on it before hand?
    Last edited by USUC; 07-21-2020 at 08:08 PM.

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    Corporate lackey for Jesus Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USUC View Post
    Last month we went stargazing in the west desert and I convinced my wife to bring her old digital camera to get pics of the milky way. She didn't think they would turn out as it's not a great camera. They weren't bad but she had to tinker with it a bit. Your pictures look great. Did you read up on it before hand?
    Wow! Great pic.
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    Chronic Poseur USUC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    Wow! Great pic.
    Thank you. That's what I think as well. The wife is a perfectionist and wished the foreground was more defined.

    My 6 year old has really gotten into constellations lately. So I downloaded a light pollution app and figured out where the closest dark sky was. The Wasatch front is really blessed. You can get to extremely dark skies in 90 minutes to two hours. We had planned on going out this past weekend but couldn't make it happen. My boy would have loved the comet.
    Last edited by USUC; 07-21-2020 at 09:24 PM.

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    Semper infra dignitatem PaloAltoCougar's Avatar
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    Dazzling pic, USUC. Do you remember any technical details (lens, speed, aperture, ISO, etc.)?

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    Chronic Poseur USUC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaloAltoCougar View Post
    Dazzling pic, USUC. Do you remember any technical details (lens, speed, aperture, ISO, etc.)?
    My wife was the one with the know how. She used a Canon Rebel T5 with just the standard zoom lens. I know the shutter speed was fairly long, maybe 30 seconds. I want to say the ISO was 3200-ish. She spent about 30 minutes trying to get the right focus. I think she tried singling in on a single star but ultimately focused on something inside the car to get it to work properly. All this stuff is greek to me though. I think she just found an article on how to do it from someone that used the same camera. She said it would have been easier with a better lens.

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    Bald not naked Pelado's Avatar
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    Anyone else see this yet? Apparently, it was closest to Earth on July 22. It is now getting further away. I ordered an inexpensive telescope and set of binoculars from Amazon that arrived yesterday. Last night had cloud cover and rain. I'm hoping to see it tonight with the family. I'd read that it's visible a little while after sunset, but another tool I saw said it won't be visible until nearly 11 pm here in the Boise area. Which is correct? I'd prefer not having to wait until 11 pm for my kids to see this - especially if I have to go very far out of town to see it.
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    Semper infra dignitatem PaloAltoCougar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelado View Post
    Anyone else see this yet? Apparently, it was closest to Earth on July 22. It is now getting further away. I ordered an inexpensive telescope and set of binoculars from Amazon that arrived yesterday. Last night had cloud cover and rain. I'm hoping to see it tonight with the family. I'd read that it's visible a little while after sunset, but another tool I saw said it won't be visible until nearly 11 pm here in the Boise area. Which is correct? I'd prefer not having to wait until 11 pm for my kids to see this - especially if I have to go very far out of town to see it.
    It's very hard to see until an hour or so after sunset. Even then, because of urban light pollution, I can't see it without binoculars. It's like a hazy white smudge, not a distinct white streak. But it's still cool to see, and not as big a disappointment as, say, Halley's or Kohoutek. But it's no Hale-Bopp either. That was the best of my lifetime. At least cults aren't killing themselves over this one.

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    Bald not naked Pelado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaloAltoCougar View Post
    It's very hard to see until an hour or so after sunset. Even then, because of urban light pollution, I can't see it without binoculars. It's like a hazy white smudge, not a distinct white streak. But it's still cool to see, and not as big a disappointment as, say, Halley's or Kohoutek. But it's no Hale-Bopp either. That was the best of my lifetime. At least cults aren't killing themselves over this one.
    Apparently, I was in Argentina for Hale-Bopp. Nobody told me about it, and I don't remember ever seeing it, if it was even visible in the Southern Hemisphere.
    "I think it was King Benjamin who said 'you sorry ass shitbags who have no skills that the market values also have an obligation to have the attitude that if one day you do in fact win the PowerBall Lottery that you will then impart of your substance to those without.'"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelado View Post
    Anyone else see this yet? Apparently, it was closest to Earth on July 22. It is now getting further away. I ordered an inexpensive telescope and set of binoculars from Amazon that arrived yesterday. Last night had cloud cover and rain. I'm hoping to see it tonight with the family. I'd read that it's visible a little while after sunset, but another tool I saw said it won't be visible until nearly 11 pm here in the Boise area. Which is correct? I'd prefer not having to wait until 11 pm for my kids to see this - especially if I have to go very far out of town to see it.
    We went out last weekend and saw it. We had a good view by about an hour past sunset. It’s cool to see if you enjoy that kind of thing.
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    Bald not naked Pelado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelado View Post
    Anyone else see this yet? Apparently, it was closest to Earth on July 22. It is now getting further away. I ordered an inexpensive telescope and set of binoculars from Amazon that arrived yesterday. Last night had cloud cover and rain. I'm hoping to see it tonight with the family. I'd read that it's visible a little while after sunset, but another tool I saw said it won't be visible until nearly 11 pm here in the Boise area. Which is correct? I'd prefer not having to wait until 11 pm for my kids to see this - especially if I have to go very far out of town to see it.
    We went to see it Friday night. We went a little outside of the valley, finding a dark area off of highway 16. The comet was visible by around 10:30 or so, even to the naked eye. I couldn't make out the tail without the binoculars or telescope, and even with the optical aids the tail was pretty faint. So faint, in fact, that at times I wondered if I was focused on the right object.

    My wife and kids were not impressed. The middle child was much more interested in examining the moon than the comet.

    I'm a bit disappointed that we didn't get a better view. Maybe the comet had just moved too far away from Earth. Maybe its increased distance from the sun was resulting in less melted material and, thus, less tail. Maybe (most likely) the cheap optical magnification equipment wasn't good enough and/or we weren't using them properly. Or maybe the combination of these factors (and possibly others) conspired against us. Whatever the reason, the evening resulted in less awe and more late-night crabbiness.

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