Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Comet Imaging Session - July 8, 2020 (Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE)

In the early morning of July 8th, I try to observe and image the surprisingly bright Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE from our roof deck. I setup my Canon EOS M6 mirrorless camera on Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L lens set at 400mm f/5.6 mounted on Vixen Porta II mount. When I saw the bright star Capella rising in the NE horizon, I'm confident that I will finally be able to observe and image this bright comet after getting clouded out past 2 days. The comet rises at around 4:21am PST (Philippine Standard Time +8 GMT) and I was able to locate it at around 4:42am PST at an altitude of only 4 degrees above the NE horizon! I quickly took some images of the comet right away as the bright dusk glow is starting to wash out the comet. After a few minutes , the sky got brighter and brighter that I stop imaging already before 5:00am PST as I fell its useless to image the comet anymore by that time although I can still see it on the live view screen of my EOS M6. Through the 10x50 binoculars, the comet nucleus is easy to see but the tail is surprisingly faint compare to the live view screen whereas I can see some tail. From the comet image that I was able to image, I can see a bright V shaped tail coming out of the bright nucleus but I can see more or less about 1 degree tail. My estimate of this comet nucleus is around apparent magnitude of about +1.5 or +2.0 . Reports from the US has reports saying the comet tail is as long as 3 degrees! This might be so as this comet favors the higher latitude Northern hemisphere countries such as USA, Canada, and Europe where the comet tail are imaged beautifully. I do hope to be able to image this comet maybe another 2-3 days before it will be hard to image it anymore due to bright dusk glow. After that, the comet will be better observe and imaged in the early evening time after sunset in the NW horizon.

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