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Old 2020-07-23, 09:30   #1
xilman's Avatar
May 2003
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Default C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE)

Managed to see the comet for the first time last night. Very fine view, with a tail perhaps 3 degrees long as seen in 7x50 binoculars.

It is lower in the sky from La Palma but at least the northwestern sky is dark and uninterrupted by trees, unlike where I live 10km due south of Cambridge.

Definitely the best comet since Hale-Bopp and Hyatutake almost 25 years ago.
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Old 2020-07-23, 14:15   #2
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Uncwilly's Avatar
Aug 2003
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I saw it last Saturday. I was in a darker sky area near a light pollution mecca. I visited heavens-above for a finder chart. As soon as I exited my car and oriented myself I saw it. With averted vision I was getting about 5 degrees. Unfortunately, my camera allows manual settings for many things except focus. So, I could image it as a blur, but with 2 second exposure time got a good fan shape.
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Old 2020-07-23, 20:19   #3
Spherical Cow
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Nov 2004

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I was last able to see it when it was in the morning sky, but its been cloudy here ever since. At that time, it looked nothing like the pictures I've seen lately, but it was still good to see a naked eye comet again. I was still recovering from my accident, so couldn't set up a telescope; all I could carry was a DSLR and a zoom. Here's one of the images I took to create a short movie as it rose over the mountains, but haven't been able to turn that movie into a GIF that is small enough to upload to the forum. Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp remain my all time favorites; can't believe its been 25 years since they cruised by.
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Old 2020-07-24, 04:38   #4
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Aug 2010

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I went up to a place called "Minaret Vista" in eastern California last Saturday, July 18. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone - see the comet and get in some acclimatization for my Whitney hike two days later. It was supposed to be ideal conditions - new moon, clear skies, high altitude (over 9,200' / 2800m), and far from any buildings and major metropolitan areas.

It turned out that there were hoards of other vacationers doing the same thing. There was a line of parked cars that stretched for at least a quarter mile since the parking lot was full, and it reminded me of the eclipse crowds. The good thing was that there was great advice on spotting the comet as well as a whole bunch of binoculars and telescopes that people didn't mind sharing. The bad thing, however, was that the car lights of drivers coming and going were ruining everyone's night vision. Oh well, the views were still worth it.

The advice I got was to look northwest about 10 degrees above the horizon around an hour after sunset. Looking northwest, there would be a triangle between the Big Dipper and the horizon, and the comet would be at the top of that triangle (note: this was accurate, but probably only on July 18 near that location). I still could spot it faintly with my naked eye, but the comet's tail looked better through my peripheral vision than through a direct look.

I took the attached picture from a screen on someone's telescope display. The views through the binoculars were better and a lot more realistic, but I couldn't get a good picture of it.
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Old 2020-07-24, 08:00   #5
xilman's Avatar
May 2003
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Originally Posted by MooMoo2 View Post
I took the attached picture from a screen on someone's telescope display.
Good evening, MooMoo.

The posted image consists of an ideal image convolved with an unknown point spread function. Consequently, it shows blurring and non-linear trailing.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to estimate the PSF from the image - perhaps by assuming the stars are points in the ideal image - and so estimate the ideal image through appropriate deconvolution.

Good luck, MooMoo

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Old 2020-07-24, 10:20   #6
matzetoni's Avatar
Feb 2019

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My own humble attempt to capture comet NEOWISE (made on July 21st), definitely one of the best comets in the last few years and first time I could capture an ion tail :)
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