Let’s talk nerdy about the Neowise comet ! From it’s Wiki entry: C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) or Comet NEOWISE is a long period comet with a near-parabolic orbit discovered on March 27, 2020, by astronomers during the NEOWISE mission of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope. In early July, the comet could be seen in the morning sky just above the north-eastern horizon.
Enough real science, it’s time for some photos. Early July of 2020 is the time period of the photos here. The first photo above was one of the shots from a 3 hour timelapse I setup while waiting for the comet to rise in the Northern sky. The nightly forecast called for cloud cover, but it was going to clear out by midnight. You’ll be able to see those clouds in the last part of my timelapse below. Those clouds cleared, and the Milky Way glided across the Southern horizon. That bright object to the left of the Milky Way is Jupiter, with Saturn hiding behind the tree on its left.
The comet wasn’t set to rise in the Northern sky until just after 3am, so I had some time to do some more night sky experimentation. The photo above is the result of combining two different photos. One was exposed properly for the dark side, and the other exposed for the lit portion. It has given me some more creative ideas to try out in the future. How do you think it turned out?
Finally, the reason why I drove into the Pinelands of Southern New Jersey at 10PM! Neowise slowly climbed above the tree line and the Sun had also started to have an effect on the atmosphere. The gentle transition from night to day was happening, while this space rock left its trail of gas and dust streaming away.
I recently have gotten back into timelapses and have tried to step up my game. Over the years I’ve been taking photos of the night skies in the Pinelands. This video starts out with a quick star trail in August of 2015, and leads up to this July night in 2020. Watch the stars streak across the skies. Look for the speedy airplanes, keep an eye out for sneaky satellites and sit back as clouds whip by. There’s a lot of tiny little things to spot.