Comet Neowise

Here’s one to look out for: Comet Neowise C/2020 F3. “It is set to make its closest approach to Earth on July 22” apparently*, but can be seen until then.

I spotted this photograph of it on DeviantArt and looked into when and where to look out for it.

From the UK, “a couple of hours before sunrise”, the advise I read was to “look towards the north-west”.

So last night, sleeping in my tent as I had been doing recently, I had with me my camera and tripod, alarm set, and a flask of coffee. I’ve learned from these attempts at waking myself up and getting motivated at silly-o’clock and thought a swig of coffee after being roused by the alarm would do the trick, and indeed it did.

I peeped out the tent shortly after and was pleased to see clear-enough skies to see stars; the sky was already quite bright though with the sun not dipping all that low beneath the horizon at this time of year.

My garden faces more south-westerly, so the cat and I got out of the tent for a wander round the house to get a better view of the morning sky from each direction (or as he thought, to play games at 3am)… 7/8th of the sky was clear, except for hazy cloud obscuring the… north-west. Typical. There were nice clouds in the east though.

I started to try and better figure out where best to look for this comet; I had seen a picture or two illustrating the trajectory; the comet had already passed closest to the sun, that kind of meant it should indeed be either a morning or evening “star”, and therefore, at that time, in the east or west respectively. Why then was the advice to look north-west?*

I continued my peering at the sky for a while, enjoying those sunrise clouds, wondering if Neowise was lurking beyond them and this is what I saw glimpses of:

I’m not completely certain that’s comet Neowise, but besides the whispy clouds, it did seem to carry a tail. Maybe it was Capella. Further round to the right I saw Venus, far brighter:

I will try again tomorrow morning.

*For now I’m certain the advise from bristolpost.co.uk is muddled; you would look northwest after sunset, and northeast before sunrise as illustrated at Comet Watch.

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