Tuesday, September 29, 2020
ADVT 
Interesting

To photograph comet Neowise, it takes patience and placement

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 24 Jul, 2020
  • To photograph comet Neowise, it takes patience and placement

The newly discovered comet Neowise is only visible from Earth once every 6,800 years, and photographers who want to document it seek places with high elevation and little smog or light pollution. A place like North Carolina’s famed Grandfather Mountain.

On a recent weekend, Associated Press photographer Gerry Broome was granted special after-hours access to the iconic peak to accompany photographer and amateur astronomer Johnny Horne on a trip to make images of the comet discovered in March.

The moment came on a Saturday night when Comet Neowise first appeared as a tiny smudge in the northern sky. A pair of binoculars revealed its tail of gas and dust. It was just past 9:30 p.m., and the northern sky had cleared enough to spot the comet with the naked eye. It was as if the heavens opened up and provided a celestial show that wouldn’t be repeated in our lifetimes and for many to come.

“If we don’t attempt to experience these natural wonders, we never see any of them except by chance. I’d rather be deliberate about it,” said Horne, who has travelled to Australia to photograph Halley’s comet, Zambia and Mexico’s Baja peninsula for eclipses and Iceland for the northern lights. The retired news photographer and photo editor, who spent 44 years at The Fayetteville Observer, has contributed to Sky & Telescope magazine since the 1990s.

To see Neowise, Grandfather Mountain was chosen for its clear view at an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet (1,828 metres) But to benefit from the view, the weather has to co-operate. On Friday night, a giant thundercloud blocked the view on Grandfather Mountain as the comet appeared, thwarting the attempts to photograph it.

But on Saturday, both photographers were successful -- Broome atop the mountain again this time, and Horne at a lower elevation.

According to NASA, the nucleus of the comet is three miles (4.8 kilometres) across. It emits a tail of dust and possibly two tails of gas as it moves through space at around 144,000 mph (232,000 kph). Now making its way back toward the outer solar system, the comet has come as close as 64 million miles (103 million kilometres) to Earth.

The comet should remain visible through the end of July and possibly into August across the Northern Hemisphere. It is visible to the naked eye and can be spotted below the Big Dipper, but a good pair of binoculars or a telescope will enhance your view. A clear night with limited light pollution is important for success.

It's named for the NASA spacecraft, Neowise, that first spotted it.

MORE Interesting ARTICLES

Ships not complying with whale rules: study

Ships not complying with whale rules: study

A study of ship speeds in the Cabot Strait shows that two-thirds are not complying with a voluntary speed restriction meant to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales that migrate through the area.

Ships not complying with whale rules: study

How does COVID-19 affect kids? Science has answers and gaps

How does COVID-19 affect kids? Science has answers and gaps

What role children play in the coronavirus pandemic is the hot-button question of the summer as kids relish their free time while schools labour over how to resume classes.

How does COVID-19 affect kids? Science has answers and gaps

Tom Hanks used as physical distance marker

Tom Hanks used as physical distance marker

It could be "A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood" if you come across a life-sized decal of Tom Hanks in downtown Toronto.

Tom Hanks used as physical distance marker

Fishermen catch a barracuda far from hom

Fishermen catch a barracuda far from hom

A commercial fisherman knew he was staring at a fish out of place when a barracuda landed in his net on Vancouver Island, far from its typical habitat in southern California.

Fishermen catch a barracuda far from hom

Campaign brewing to get Hindu god Brahma off popular beer

Campaign brewing to get Hindu god Brahma off popular beer

An interfaith coalition is pressing the world's largest brewer to remove the name of a Hindu god from a popular beer that dates to the late 1800s — a dispute the beermaker insists is a case of mistaken identity.

Campaign brewing to get Hindu god Brahma off popular beer

Burger King addresses elephant in the room, and it's a cow

Burger King addresses elephant in the room, and it's a cow

Burger King is staging an intervention with its cows. The chain has rebalanced the diet of some of the cows by adding lemon grass in a bid to limit bovines contributions to climate change. By tweaking their diet, Burger King said Tuesday that it believes it can reduce a cows' daily methane emissions by about 33%.

Burger King addresses elephant in the room, and it's a cow

PrevNext