Captivating Comet

 

“Science is an ongoing process. It never ends.
There is no single ultimate truth to be achieved,
after which all the scientists can retire.”
Carl Sagan

 

NEOWISE Comet

NEOWISE Comet from Mt. Hood, Oregon by Daniel Springer –  July 2020

A few weeks back, a good friend asked if I had the opportunity to photograph the comet, NEOWISE in the skies over Redondo Beach. Unfortunately, because of overcast evening skies, I have not been able to get a good photo of the comet. However, I still have time since the comet will be visible through mid-August.

This fairly large, 3 mile across comet was first spotted by The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on March 27th. NEOWISE is named after the JPL space telescope used to first discover the comet, the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer aka NEOWISE. To learn more about the NEOWISE JPL Mission visit, https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/neowise/

The newly discovered comet might become known as the Great Comet of 2020 because it won’t be returning to our neck of the world for another 6,800 years. Why? Because, that’s how many years it takes this comet to complete its journey around the sun. It’s also one of the few comets visible without the use of a telescope or even binoculars. According to JPL, NEOWISE is the brightest comet since Comet Hale-Bopp visited us in 1997.

Joseph Masiero, NEOWISE deputy principal investigator at JPL, said in a recent interview that, “. . . by combining the infrared data with visible-light images, we can tell that the comet’s nucleus is covered with sooty, dark particles left over from its formation near the birth of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.”

If you’re interested in capturing a beautiful photograph like the one my friend’s son Daniel took at Mt. Hood in Oregon, start looking up at the sky about one hour after sunset. According to the Sky & Telescope magazine, you’ll find the comet just over the northwest horizon as the last of twilight fades into darkness. Look about three fists below the bowl of the Big Dipper. The comet has also been getting brighter and brighter in the early morning sky as well.

Good luck my fellow Blogaholics in photographing or just experiencing this captivating comet.

Shine On