The summer comet of 2020In the summer of 2020 the bright naked-eye comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) graced our skies. At first only visible in the morning sky it entered the evening sky by mid-July. At that time it peaked around 2nd magnitude and showed a bright false nucleus. During its apparition the comet developed a broad dust tail and an elegant slender gas tail, both at least 10 degrees long.
On the morning of July 13, 2020, we used a 50mm lens to capture the rise of comet NEOWISE in the morning sky. The timelapse movie shows the comet rising above a distant tree line in Austria in the dawn of the morning sky. In the video clip time runs 60x faster than normal - one second video time corresponds to one minute real time.
On July 14, the comet was already a prominent object in the evening sky. Again we used a 50mm lens, this time for a series of much deeper exposures to capture the tails of the comet. This HDR image is a stack of 18 exposures with 60 and 15 seconds @f/4. The mix of different exposure times was necessary to prevent overexposure of the comet‘s head and bring out the prominent false nucleus. The DSLR was tracked with a Mini Track LX2.
In August, the comet was already considerably fainter and started to disappear from the evening sky. This farewell image approximates the view of NEOWISE as it could be seen with binoculars on August 8, 2020. The picture is a stack of 16 x 30 second images shot with a 135mm lens @f/4 on a very warm summer evening from Austria.