Hello and welcome to my collection of images from chasing comet NEOWISE 2020F3. That’s the official name.
Comet NEOWISE is a long-period comet with a near-parabolic orbit discovered on March 27, 2020, by astronomers during the NEOWISE mission of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer space telescope. At that time, it was a dim object, located 300 million km or 190 million miles away from the Sun.
NEOWISE is known for being the brightest comet in the northern hemisphere since Comet Hale–Bopp in 1997. While it was too close to the Sun to be observed at perihelion, it emerged from behind the sun bright enough to be visible to the naked eye. It remained visible to the naked eye under dark skies throughout July 2020.
This collection of images was shot at Hidden Vally campground inside Joshua Tree National Park on July 11th, 2020 around 4 am. I had driven up the evening before hoping to find a spot to park along the road with a good backdrop view towards the Northeast. As luck favors the prepared, I was driving through the campground and one, last spot was open. Perfectly facing a lovely part of the valley. I was excited to be in a perfect spot.
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At this time the comet was coming up right before sunrise. The window to grab a good shot was only about 30 minutes before the sunrise would wash out the sky and hid the comet.
A week after the comet became a big attraction. It started to appear in the evening sky after sunset. Each night as it traveled further from the sun it moved up from the horizon and could be seen later into the night before setting in the dust and smoke on the horizon. At this point, the comet was easily seen naked eye and just spectacular in binoculars.
During one of the first nights out after it moved into the evening. My daughter exclaimed she could see the separation of the ion tail and the dust tail in binoculars. After having a good look I could see she was right. It was amazing to see this as I only thought the ion tail would be able to be seen in photographs.
In searching for the ideal place to get “The Shot”. I went where I thought I would get the best view. A few places ended up being challenges. The first night of the second part of the chase. I thought a local, cool spot would be Giant Rock out Landers way. I was right and so did a bunch of other people. I didn’t realize it was Friday night and it was several groups out there. With their cars, lights and fireworks. The dust and stray car lights from those coming in and leaving made a mess of the conditions. But yet there was still enough to get a few shots.
For the desert preserve shots. When I went to pick the spot I wanted to shoot from I found some low laying barbed wire that had me tripped up and down on the ground. Only injury was scraped up shines. It was pretty comical. I hit two of them and almost made it. Until the third one took me down. Thankfully it was soft sand.
If you see a picture that you would like to purchase. Just hit the little cart button next to it and you will find the various prints that are available. If you would like something custom, just hit the contact page and send me a request.
Thanks for visiting.