C2020 F3 Neowise

July 7, 2020     4:34 AM CDT - 4:55 AM CDT

I could not see this comet naked-eye this morning.  Observed from overpass at Lake St Louis and I-64, in an "orange zone".  Some low thin clouds prevented earlier viewing.  Found easily once I was able to spot Theta Aurigae.  It was a very nice view in my 15x70 binoculars and would have also been nice in 10x50s if I would have had them. It is always a treat to see a good tail on a comet!                     

 It has been quite a long time since we have seen a good comet here.  I hope we can at some time see this, with tail, naked-eye as that would be a huge treat.  Unfortunately, this one hugs the horizon for quite some time and will lose its' brightness as we wait.

 I suspect that this comet would be seen naked-eye from a darker rural location, provided that the ENE and NNE horizon is unobstructed and skies are nicely clear.   My estimate of brightness is approximately what the Big Dipper stars are.   Note that the Big Dipper stars can also be hard to see without optical aid when low on the horizon in Winter skies.

July 8, 2020           4:24 AM CDT - 4:50 AM CDT

Observed once again from the I-64 overpass @ Lake St Louis MO. Low haze prevented viewing earlier and thus prevented naked-eye viewing prior to twilight.  The comet was easily visible in 10x50s but was spectacular in the 15x70s.  Estimate 2.0 magnitude. 

Tail was still long but not quite as long and bright as yesterday, but close.  Despite my 15x drawing, the tail was evenly displayed, and at 15x some suggestion of bifurcation may have been observed.   No extended coma, just a bright pseudo-nucleus.  

This is the brightest comet I have observed since C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) in 2012 and resembles it quite a bit.  I sure hope that it maintains brightness (and tail) once it gets to evening skies and gets a bit higher above the horizon (in a moonless sky).

July 9, 2020           4:22 AM CDT - 4:50 AM CDT

Observed this morning at Boulevard Park, Lake St Louis MO.  Sky conditions were GREAT and I viewed this comet naked-eye prior to lifting my binoculars.  No hunt necessary!  The comet was easily visible naked-eye (not "fleetingly") and was best viewed in the 15x70s.  Estimate 2.0 magnitude still.  Having seen it naked-eye now, I'm convinced it is the brightest comet seen here since Hale-Bopp graced our skies in 1997 (Comet 2006 P1 McNaught just didn't have the right orbit for the northern hemisphere).

Tail was longer than yesterday.  At 35x some bifurcation was observed. This was darkest closest to P-nucleus.   No extended coma, just a bright pseudo-nucleus.   At 35x some fan-shape to the tight coma.  Maybe more of a deep "U" shape.

The tail was probably longest when viewed naked-eye. Easily a full degree long.  It looked like a small "pin" stuck in the sky.  In binoculars at 15x my estimate of tail length dropped to about 0.75*, and in my 4.25" reflector at 35x my estimate of tail length dropped to just over 0.5*.

July 10, 2020           4:22 AM CDT - 4:45 AM CDT

Observed again this morning at Boulevard Park, Lake St Louis MO.  Sky conditions were once again GREAT !   Temps were a comfortable 75*F.  Very nice.  This time I bravely stepped into the realm of astrophotography, something that I rarely do as a result of my incompetence.   I simply mounted on a tripod and took mostly 4-6 second shots at ISO 800, wide open, with a Nikon 55 - 200mm lens.

I also brought the 15x70 binos, but quickly found I could only serve one master.   Today was about the camera.  Not very many comets put on a show that I am capable of capturing any decent photos!   I actually prepped on this a bit last night, as I have no patience finding settings and tiny buttons in the dark.

July 11, 2020           4:09 AM CDT - 4:42 AM CDT

Observed again EARLY this morning at Boulevard Park, Lake St Louis MO.  Just photos, trying to improve my shots since I've met my drawing and data requirements.  Tail has continued to grow (but very thin/tenuous farther out) and the head has dimmed slightly.  Overall appearance is dynamically different based on altitude over the horizon and transparency, since summer haze is frequently an issue.

July 12 & 13 -
As the comet was transitioning from AM to PM viewing, I attempted to view it from Broemmelsiek Park on the 12th but it was simply too low yet for the tree line there at the time.  I observed it with 15x70 binos on the 13th from the south side of the I-64 overpass at Lake St Louis.  I could not quite ascertain it naked-eye with that light pollution.  I chose that location due to good low horizon in the NNW.  I just wanted to catch it low in the evening, as soon as I could.

July 14

About 25 people were at Broemmelsiek Park tonight to see the comet.  Not quite half of them brought binoculars.  Many were surprised that we could not see it 10 minutes after sunset (!). Those were also the ones that expected it to be a very bright object, easy to see naked-eye.

Comet C/2020 F3 (Neowise) was observed at Broemmelsiek Park tonight in binoculars from about 9:26 until about 10:15pm. It was BARELY a naked eye object from about 9:45 to 10:00. It is getting dimmer. That said, it was SPECTACULAR in binoculars. Seeing conditions could have been better, but as hazy summers in July go, this wasn't bad at all. Although the comet is dimming, the tail is magnificent!

It will hopefully be fun to see Thursday and Friday nights. Current weather forecast for Wednesday (tomorrow) night is poor. Tonight's batch of photos were slightly out-of-focus despite my efforts but I'm offering them anyway. [Just don't zoom in (!).]   A simple tracking mount may have to be in my future...


July 15

More comet photos. These taken from the top of our street in Lake St Louis MO, now that it is a bit higher in the sky. It was naked-eye visible tonight (with nearby streetlights) mostly between 9:40 and 9:55. These are ISO 3200, 2.5 secs, f/4.5 at 78mm (1 & 2) and f/5.6 at 200mm (3&4). Viewed in binoculars here from ~9.30 to ~10:25.

Comet C/2020 F3 Neowise is truly a ‘suburban’ comet now. Naked eye visible above trees - with nearby street lights. It was mostly cloudy but was clear to my NW.  My 15x70 binoculars continue to provide spectacular views!

Nikon D3100  ISO 3200   4 sec. f/4.5 78mm

  The bright star above is Beta Aurigae.

[1] Nikon D3100    ISO 1600   4 sec. f/5.6 200mm

[2] Nikon D3100    ISO 1600   6 sec. f/5.6 200mm

Nikon D3100   ISO 3200  2.5 sec. f/5.6 200mm

Nikon D3100   ISO 3200  2.5 sec. f/5.6 200mm