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Comet NEOWISE over Cassiopeia Observatory

Posted: 28 July 2020

Monday, 27 July 2020, was cloudy with afternoon thundershowers in the area. About an hour after sunset the sky cleared enough to try to view and photograph Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE. The near First Quarter Moon would hamper viewing and photography.

2020 MST: I set up the D850 DSLR with 70-300mm lens on a non-tracking tripod near the house front patio. I then began looking for the comet using 7x50 binoculars. 2023 MST: located the comet. The fuzzy head was clearly visible in the binoculars and a short tail (about 3°) faintly visible. I then began photographing the comet using different focal length lens and exposure settings. The clouds and bright Moon made photographing COMET NEOWISE difficult.

2035 MST: f/5.6, 3 seconds, ISO 12800, FL 300mm

I swapped to a focal length 50mm lens and was surprised to get the ion tail.

2045 MST: f/2, 10 seconds, ISO 5000, FL 50mm (slight crop)
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Next, I used a focal length 14mm UWA lens to photograph the comet in the western sky and some lightning in a Monsoon storm to the north.

2053 MST: f/2.8, 10 seconds, ISO 4000, FL 14mm UWA (slight crop)
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If any Oracle residents are friends of the owners of the Seventy Seven Equestrian Center on Hwy 77 across from the Ford Dealership you might ask them how it enhances the safety of their horses and riders by pointing their bright lights up into the sky. I am not a horse owner or rider, but I think that illuminating the ground where the horses are walking would be better. If the intent is to not light the ground then these lights should not be turned on, or at least properly shielded so they do not light up the sky and surrounding area beyond the Equestrian Center.

I then moved the camera to near the observatory, which remained closed due to the clouds. This moonlit scene shows Comet NEOWISE over Cassiopeia Observatory.

2104 MST: f/2.8, 20 seconds, ISO 2500, FL 14mm UWA (slight crop)
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