How to see Comet Neowise - July 2020

Brian G Turner

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Comet Neowise is apparently visible at the moment in the Northern Hemisphere, though currently only about an hour before dawn.

However, next week it should be visible just after sunset, with the best visibility between 14th-19th July:


The first good opportunity for evening viewing begins on July 12, when the head of the comet will stand 5 degrees above the north-northwest horizon, 80 minutes after sunset (the end of nautical twilight). By July 14 its altitude will have already doubled to 10 degrees, and by July 19 it will have doubled yet again to 20 degrees up by the end of nautical twilight. By then it will have moved to above the northwest horizon.
Will be looking out for this, though may need my binoculars. However, the fact that I'm based so far north means the sun may be a problem, as it doesn't quite set on the Western horizon during the height of summer - ie, now.

In the meantime, more on comet Neowise here - including the fact it's not due to return for another 7,000 years!

 

CTRandall

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Thanks for the heads up! I'll try and get a gander at it, assuming we get a clear sky sometime soon. Blasted British summer. Sometimes comes in April, sometimes February, never in June and maybe a week in July if we're lucky.
 

Don

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CometNeowise07112020-800x511.jpg

July 11, 2020, facing northeast about 45 to 60 minutes before sunrise. Venus is the very bright planet, near the bright star Aldebaran now. while Capella is a bright star seen toward the northeast now, at dawn. Note that stars Capella and Menkalinan point to Comet NEOWISE on July 11 just before dawn. Illustration by Eddie Irizarry using Stellarium.

 

The Judge

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We saw it on Sunday night -- no cloud at all, down here in Hampshire (though lots of light pollution which never helps).

We couldn't find it at all when we first went out about 10.30pm, as we had only a vague idea where it was meant to be and how low to the horizon (I'd completely missed this thread), not helped as (a) someone who shall be nameless hogged the good binoculars while I was left with the crappy ones and (b) I was expecting it to look like a caricature of a comet, with the tail streaming out parallel to the horizon. Then after some googling and we had a better idea of where to look we went out again at about 11pm, and once I got hold of the good binoculars I found it immediately in the NNW, and the tail was pretty much perpendicular right over where the sun had set. It is visible to the naked eye -- well, my spectacled eye -- but only after we'd already found it with the binoculars as otherwise it just looked like a smudge in the sky.
 

The Judge

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I know that now! (I started wondering how/why comets have tails so went and looked it up -- I'd never given it a thought before!)
 

CTRandall

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Just got back from having a look and the horizon is still too light to see anything. Normally, I love the late summer light but tonight it's annoying me. I'll try again tomorrow night if the clear skies hold.
 

The Judge

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Having gone out and bought a telescope last week, we tried for another view of the comet on Monday. Again, we went out too early and it was still too light so we had to retreat into the house and emerge again well after 11pm, and again we couldn't work out where it should be so we were scanning all over. Eventually, I noticed a kind of smudge a good bit further west than before and found the comet again with the good binoculars, but the telescope didn't give any clearer or sharper image, just a bigger blur, so I'm not sure what we were doing wrong!
 

Matteo

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Saw it Monday evening with naked eye. A very clear sky and since we live in the countryside (so little light pollution) and our garden looks out NW/N/NE, it looked quite bright. Couldn't see an obvious tail though.
 

Extollager

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I tried to take a picture of the comet with my iPad peering through the eyepiece. As I expected, the comet was too dim. But it was worth a try. I was delighted last year when I was able to photograph the transit of Mercury with my iPad and telescope (Orion StarBlast -- a 4 1/2" beginner scope, but fine for someone like me).

 

-K2-

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Something is not right with @The Judge 's telescope setup. With hazy skies I was able to see it rather clearly, and with small lens meager 8x binoculars I saw it very clearly. That said...EVERY modern telescope I have ever seen--that an individual owns--is missing the various eyepiece lenses...every. So, they're apparently something folks overlook. Just a thought if you can't resolve it since they look somewhat complete without them.

Where I'm at (U.S. just between Canada and Mexico and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans... :sneaky:), find the big dipper, now...go halfway down to the horizon, pan right slightly. It's moving daily so it might be higher now and further right. For me 3-nights ago, the tail was obvious even with the naked eye aimed up at 1:00.

K2
 

-K2-

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JFTR, tonight I checked it out and it is dimming, though even the tail is visible to the naked eye. The tail has rotated CCW to roughly 00:30 since the comet has shifted westerly.

Find the big dipper, from the lowest star--Merak, lowest part of cup away from handle--move 1/3 of the way down to the horizon (2/3 up from horizon), then pan perhaps 5-10 degrees left. That's it! Below it are two stars relatively close together, side by side, and their line almost parallel to the horizon. I'm unsure if they're the two Tania stars or Talitha and k-UMa.

K2
 

HareBrain

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the telescope didn't give any clearer or sharper image, just a bigger blur, so I'm not sure what we were doing wrong!
I saw it last night, with good binoculars that show stars as sharp points of light. The comet was a smudge. That's just its nature, I guess.
 

JimC

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"The first good opportunity for evening viewing begins on July 12, when the head of the comet will stand 5 degrees above the north-northwest horizon, 80 minutes after sunset (the end of nautical twilight). By July 14 its altitude will have already doubled to 10 degrees, and by July 19 it will have doubled yet again to 20 degrees up by the end of nautical twilight. By then it will have moved to above the northwest horizon".

Well, crap. Means I've gotta look right through the light glow from Memphis.
 

Ori Vandewalle

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Skies finally cleared up here so I went out to take a look. Found it with binoculars, got out one of my telescopes and... a sky smudge! But I live in the suburbs and I was just out on the patio, so plenty of light pollution. Not to mention it's incredibly humid and overall sky conditions are just not great at the moment. Alas.
 
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