Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Comet NEOWISE c/2020 F4

Some recent pictures I've taken, not in chronological order. The first was from Lake Mead National Recreation Area, 33 Hole Picnic area, on Saturday, July 11. Early in the morning, when the comet was to the northeast before sunrise.
Monday, July 13, from about one mile up Mount Disappointment Road, Forest Service Road 2N57. By the 13th, the comet was visible in the evening sky. Mount Disappointment Road is where I started my last blogged hike, to San Gabriel Peak. The road is for authorized vehicles, only. But you can walk or bike up it. I walked. This put me several hundred feet above Red Box Junction, with a clear view to the northwest, where the comet was. It stayed somewhat left (west) of Josephine Peak.

I hiked up there once more, a few days later. Haven't posted any pics from that trip, yet. Might get around to that, later.
This one was Friday, July 10, from Angeles Crest Highway at the Silver Moccasin Trailhead. It was another early morning shot and my first view of NEOWISE. I was just looking for somewhere with northeast visibility. This one worked pretty well, although the ridge in that direction was somewhat higher than me.

All of the preceding shots were with my Nikon D750 and my Sigma 105mm macro. That's just my longest fixed-focal length lens, and it's relatively fast. However, given the photography situation, with a bright sky, speed was really not necessary. So, for my last shot, I used a Tamron 70-300 zoom, with a maximum aperture of f/5.6, at 300mm.
This last one was from my front porch. Tuesday, July 14. Unlike the other ones, I used my Nikon D3400. It's a crop sensor, so it gives more magnification for any given lens. Also, since it's a crop sensor, the vignetting (darkening corners) I got in my other pictures is less of an issue on this one.

I shot most of these at ISO 1600 Because of the bright sky, the longest exposure I used was about eight seconds, and I'd bet none of the ones I'm posting were longer than 6 seconds.

Comet NEOWISE is currently visible after sunset, to the northwest. You need a clear horizon. Dark skies will let you see more, and the comet will be naked eye, but not necessarily super obvious. It's currently setting about 9:30pm -10pm local time. Earlier if you have a rise to your northwest. With binoculars, a tail should be evident, even from a moderately light polluted location. With binoculars, your view should look somewhat like the photographs. Naked eye, it's more smudge-like. But still cool, if you enjoy this sort of thing!

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