Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Getting off on a Comet

We're lived our lives being aware of comets. Some of us remember being disappointed in 1986 when Halley's Comet came and went without a ripple.  

But for just a few days more, we get to see one LIVE! For those in the northen hemisphere, Comet Neowise is low in the northwest sky after sunset. Wait at least an hour, because the comet is slowly growing dimmer. But it's fascinating to see, even if you find that the best way to see it is NOT to look directly at it, but appreciate it out of the corner of your eye.

Discovered in March, Neowise is a 5-kilometer-wide evaporating iceball visiting from the outer solar system. If you miss it this month, it'll be back again in about 68,000 years.

Professional photographers have taken some incredible pictures - most of them based on prolonged time exposures that my Pixel camera phone can't do. 

The Best Way to Watch Comet NEOWISE, Wherever You Are
Comet NEOWISE over Mount Hood on July 11, 2020. Credit: Kevin Morefield Getty Images

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
the highest resolution version available.
 Comet NEOWISE over Stonehenge. Image Credit & Copyright: Declan Deval

Comet NEOWISE above Hollywood. Credit: Zihao Chen Getty Images

Stupid plane.

And here is my contribution to astrophysics.
Taken in Bala, Ontario, July 17, overlooking (fittingly) the Moon River.

Keep looking up!