Blades and Bushlore

Outings => General Outings => Topic started by: Pete Bog on July 15, 2020, 12:01:44 AM

Title: Comet NEOWISE
Post by: Pete Bog on July 15, 2020, 12:01:44 AM
    In February I posted about a comet that had a possibility of becoming spectacular. It didn't. Now, Comet NEOWISE is out there. I got a chance to see it this evening. While it is certainly not spectacular yet, it has possibilities.
    So far, it is not a naked eye object. it requires a pair of binoculars at least.
    As soon as you can discern the big dipper in the evening sky, find the two stars that would define the open top of the dipper. Draw an imaginary line from those two stars down and to the right. Along that imaginary line, about half way to the horizon is Comet NEOWISE.  The head of the comet looks like it is headed South into earth's horizon and the tail is pointed almost straight up  towards the North Star.
    I waited 40 years for a naked eye comet and was beginning to think I might go a lifetime and never get to see one. Then in the spring of  '96, Hyakutake showed up. Spectacular, just like a comet should be. But, in a few weeks it was gone. After waiting 40 years, a few weeks seemed like a flash in the pan.  The following spring, comet Hale-Bopp appeared. Big and bright and stayed around for nearly 18 months. I would pull over to the side of the road on the way home from work just to admire it. I was determined to drink in as much of it as I could. After waiting 40 years for the first one, this was frosting on the cake and the possibility I may never see another in my lifetime was and is a possibility.
    Comet NEOWISE is not a naked eye object yet. It is washed out in the evening twilight and to faint to see without binoculars or a spotting scope.
    I have a 5 1/2 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with a clock drive. I'll set that up tomorrow evening for a real good look to the two tails. But it just doesn't  give the same sense of awe that a naked eye comet does.
    If you should go out to look for the comet, keep in mind that I am at 48o North. The further South you are, the closer to the horizon the comet will be.
    Speaking of South, That BRIGHT planet way to the South is Jupiter and it is in opposition. it is as bright now as it will ever get. With a really good spotting scope and some patience, you should be able to see four moons.
Title: Re: Comet NEOWISE
Post by: wsdstan on July 15, 2020, 08:45:38 AM
I will try and find that.  Thanks for posting it.
Title: Re: Comet NEOWISE
Post by: Alan R McDaniel Jr on July 15, 2020, 09:15:26 PM
I looked for it.  I'm at Lat. 25 N, so I think I maybe a bit too far south.  Tomorrow night I'll try it from the next hillside where I can see more of the horizon. 

I did find Jupiter though and it was really something to see the moons.  I'd never seen that before.

Title: Re: Comet NEOWISE
Post by: wsdstan on July 15, 2020, 10:35:18 PM
I am at 44.67 North and think I see it about half way to the horizon from the top of the dipper.  I wil watch again for a few nights.  I could be looking at a star.

Jupiter is terrific and with my spotting scope I can see what look like moons.  Two on each side of the planet.  I recall, kind of faintly, looking at them a few years ago when it was clear.

Tonight the sky was perfect for star gazing. 
Title: Re: Comet NEOWISE
Post by: Pete Bog on July 15, 2020, 11:27:52 PM
     Heavy cloud cover for me tonight. After years of disappointments, missing meteor showers and transits due to cloud cover you would think I would get used to it. I guess I've learned to accept it, but I still don't like it. Luckily, the comet will be there for a few more days, so I'll get another chance. My daughter in southern South Dakota, over by Mitchel,  got some great pictures.
      For the Southern latitudes, an early morning viewing might be better. Check the weather service for local sunrise and then try for an hour or 45 minutes before sunrise. Venus will be the brightest object in the sky and the comet will be to the left and down from there. The comet will continue to rise in the sky, so early to the middle of next week may give you a better chance.
     When you spot the comet, there will be no doubt as to what you are looking at. The tail is distinctive and spectacular. 
     If you were able to pull out the moons of Jupiter, then you may be able to see the rings of Saturn. On Monday, Saturn will be at opposition too, and the rings will be as exposed as anytime in the next 5 years. The first time you see the rings of Saturn, it almost takes your breath away.
     Saturn is located just a little to the left and slightly down from Jupiter. It's pretty bright too, and has a bit of a yellow tint to it.
Title: Re: Comet NEOWISE
Post by: Alan R McDaniel Jr on July 16, 2020, 05:38:28 AM
Couldn't find it again this morning.  I'll keep looking though.  I've got to remember to put my telescope and binoculars outside about an hour before I go look though.  The lenses fog up if I don't. 

Title: Re: Comet NEOWISE
Post by: wsdstan on July 16, 2020, 11:02:41 PM
We had another great stargazing night and the comet was visible with the naked eye and binoculars.  It is the longest tail I have ever seen and just spectacular to view through the low power on the spotting scope.

Also got a good look at Saturn and can sort of see the rings but it is hazy at times.