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Comet NEOWISE will soon be leaving our night sky

Tips on viewing it while it's still here
Carter Chavez Comet Neowise
Posted at 4:55 PM, Jul 17, 2020

For most of July, the comet NEOWISE has brought a stunning and bright display to our night sky. It is currently still visible to the naked eye, but will gradually dim over the next few weeks.

Candy's Captures - Neowise and Garden of the Gods

Dr. William Brown, with Colorado State University-Pueblo, expects the comet to be visible until the end of July or early August. Then it will be perceived only by telescope as it blasts further into space.

Kara Marcus photography - Neowise comet

NEOWISE is taking a very long trip around our sun, with an orbit period of 6,766 years! This means you only have these last few weeks to get a glimpse of it yourself.

Viewing NEOWISE

Right now the best viewing time is after sunset, between 9-11 pm.

It will be in the northwest sky, below the big dipper.

The best way to see this comet without binoculars is by leaving city lights and finding darkness in the mountains or countryside.

Matt Ruggles - Neowise comet

Photographing NEOWISE

Because it is viewable by sight alone, almost any camera will work.

Kara Marcus, a local astrophotographer, says "the most important tools are a tripod, a wide-open aperture, and possibly an ISO boost to help capture the light. In general, with wide-angle photography, you can easily capture this comet with a 10-20 second exposure. If you use a smartphone, you will need to figure out a way to stabilize your camera as you don’t want it to move during exposure. Not all smartphones have long exposure options, but if you have one that does, capturing this comet is not only possible but certain."

Kara uses a telephoto lens that gets a tight and precise view of the comet, with help from an equatorial tracking mount.