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Our Wonderful World….and Beyond

Good Wednesday to you all, otherwise known as Hump Day. Well, it used to be anyway when we were living in a ‘normal’ world. These days, I am not so sure. Nothing seems to be familiar most days.

Enough of that talk! Today I am waiting for my Stampin’ Up! shipment so I can make more cards. Huh? Don’t you already have stamp sets, and dies, and paper? Well, yes, I do, but it is so much fun working with the NEW stuff! I probably have enough of all the above to last into the next century, but any excuse will do when you really aren’t in the mood to clean up the mess from the last card so you can get to work on new ones.

I suppose you have all heard about the comet that is causing such an uproar in the stargazing world. It isn’t often that we get to see a comet with the naked eye, and have multiple opportunities to photograph it. This was my first attempt at photographing the comet one night last week.

With all the political chatter on television, and the Covid19 talk, I am sick to death of tv, so just don’t turn it on. I think it has been 2 weeks since I even turned it on, and it was only on about 10 minutes before I couldn’t stand it any more. So much negativity. So much BAD news. Personally, I see the world through a different lens than those tv people.

BUT, having said all that, I was tuned in enough to hear about the comet. NEOWISE. A weird name for a comet, eh? Well, it is named for the space telescope that discovered in on March 27, the Near Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. It was named Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE on April 1, and became visible to the naked eye in the very early mornings on July 3. I didn’t know about it then.

This was my second attempt, taken above a cornfield in Minnesota.

If you can get away from light pollution, do get outside and find the Big Dipper. This constellation can be found in the northwest sky as soon after sunset as you can see the stars. Say 45 minutes to an hour after sunset. Almost straight down from the lip of the dipper you will be able to see the comet with the naked eye. Yep, naked eye. Probably this will be your only opportunity in this lifetime to see a comet without a telescope. This particular comet won’t come around again for about 6,800 years, and I don’t plan to be here then. Do you?

Experts say it will be visible all night, and probably through the end of July. However, it is receding from the sun so is dimming slightly. Also, the crescent moon will also reappear this week, and with a brighter light from the moon, the comet will be harder to see. Tonight it will pass closest to Earth, some 64 millions miles away.

If you have binoculars, you can get an even better look at this celestial phenomenon. We are fortunate here in the northern hemisphere to be able to see NEOWISE. The last comet, Comet McNaught, in 2007, was pretty much only visible in the southern hemisphere. Hale-Bopp was visible to the naked eye in 1997. So, only 3 comets in 23 years have been visible to the naked eye, and this one is pretty amazing.

This image is better. You can see the lake in the foreground and the cup part of the Big Dipper. There were clouds so the comet was fading in and out.

But I like this one even better as it shows the Big dipper. I used a wide angle lens for both of these. The first two images were taken with a telephoto lens. Both of these images were taken at Sulem Lake in Minnesota.

On the way back to my daughter’s house after leaving the lake, we stopped for a different view. You can see a tower and the tops of some well lighted grain bins above a cornfield in this one.

Tonight the Neo I hope to get some even better images. Practice helps, you know. Night shooting is different in MANY ways from daylight, not the least difference of which is that you can’t see what you are doing.

I don’t claim to be the world’s greatest photographer, or even in the top 10,000 or so, but I do enjoy getting out there and trying. It is especially gratifying to be able to capture this ‘once in a lifetime’ event.

So, don’t miss it. Even if you seldom pay attention to the skies at night, this is one time that you should find a clear night, get away from light pollution, and look to the northwest. Incredible! You will be glad you did.