C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) - an exceptional comet!

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rwilkinson
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C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) - an exceptional comet!

Post by rwilkinson » Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:56 am

At last - a bright comet with a proper tail!

I got my first view of it last night, low in the twilight in the North. I went out with my binoculars around 10:30 and had a look at Jupiter and Saturn low in the South, but to the North the sky was still very bright. However by 11pm it was dark enough to see stars low in the sky and I soon spotted the comet - and straight away saw the tail too.
Of the 116 comet apparitions which I've followed, this is only the 20th which I've managed to see through an eyepiece - all the others have been photographic detections.
I took some images through my little 70ED refractor (on a lightweight Alt-Az mount):
NEOWISE.jpg
Comet NEOWISE on 19-Jul. Single 20-sec exposure with Sony NEX5R on 70ED at f/4.2.
NEOWISE.jpg (79.42 KiB) Viewed 2978 times
The dark band across the top of the image is the shadow of a neighbour's telephone line.

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rwilkinson
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Re: C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) - an exceptional comet!

Post by rwilkinson » Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:33 pm

Now here's my processed data-set from last night (as the 'scope was operating on a motorised alt-az mount, I first had to do a stellar registration to take out the field-rotation, before stacking on the comet.):
c2020f3_19jul.jpg
Comet NEOWISE on 19-Jul. 20x 10-sec with Sony NEX5R on TS70ED (on alt-az mount)
c2020f3_19jul.jpg (107.36 KiB) Viewed 2974 times
The straight (blue) ion-tail is just about visible, as well as the more diffuse and curved dust-tail.

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rwilkinson
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Re: C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) - an exceptional comet!

Post by rwilkinson » Tue Jul 21, 2020 4:20 pm

Last night I had another go, this time with the 'scope on my EQ5 mount - after I found a site for the tripod where I could see it "underneath" next door's telephone line (although I had to take our washing-line down!):
c2020f3_20jul.jpg
Comet NEOWISE on 20-Jul. 15x 30-sec with NEX5R on TS70ED at f/4.2.
c2020f3_20jul.jpg (111.88 KiB) Viewed 2958 times
By 11:30 the sky had darkened enough for me to use 30-sec exposures.
And by then I could just about see it with my unaided eye, making this only my 7th naked-eye comet.

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rwilkinson
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Re: C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) - an exceptional comet!

Post by rwilkinson » Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:08 am

It's well past its peak now - down to 7th magnitude, but no longer visible from my garden (too low in the West).
However I did finally manage to capture it with an iTelescope in New Mexico - the 11" Celestron Rowe-Ackerman:
neowise_11aug.jpg
Comet NEOWISE on 11-Aug. 5x 60-sec wiht 280mm f/2.3.
neowise_11aug.jpg (142.56 KiB) Viewed 2083 times
The ion tail is still just visible (pointing out to the left).

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