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Comet 2020F3 (NEOWISE)

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About this observation
Observer
Peter Carson
Time of observation
20/07/2020 - 22:47
Object
Comet 2020F3 (NEOWISE)
Observing location
Canewdon Essex
Equipment
Canon 60Da
100mm lens at f2
Astrotrac
ISO 400
Exposure
45 x 30 sec exposures
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I went to my usual observing site in Canewdon. The comet was visible to the naked eye from dark until I left around  at around half past midnight. In binoculars the tail could be seen stretching up as far as Merak, one of the pointer stars in the Plough. Still a lovely sight despite it being not as bright as previous nights. My image is with a 100mm lens and I combined 45 x 30 second exposures to record the broad fan shaped tail.

 I had company during my stay. Shortly after I arrived a couple of woman made their way across to the middle of the field where I was set up and asked if I was from the astronomy club in Hadleigh and was I looking at the comet....they were correct but how did they know all that? They stayed for  around 90 minutes until after midnight and we did a tour of the sky and saw two passes of the ISS which seemed to keep them entertained. Shortly after they went four youths made their way across the field, two boys and two girls, who had I think been parked in cars outside the Church doing what youngsters do in cars in the dark! They wanted to know what I was photographing. After I said it was a comet and those bright “stars” in the South where in fact planets they also wanted  a guided tour of the sky. All of them could see the comet without me providing too many directions and were fascinated. They stayed for about 30 minutes then proceeded to walk off further into the field, why I’m not sure.

So six complete strangers managed to find me in the middle of a dark corn field in rural Essex, not to mug me but for me to help them enjoy the night sky....that has got to be one of my more odd nights!

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