I finally found Comet NEOWISE F3 in the evening sky after three nights of failure!
Well, don’t feel bad if you can’t see it, it’s pretty tough to see. Just a low contrast smudge, low down in the haze and coastal fog coming in from the coast, and almost wiped out by the light of the lingering dusk only an hour after sunset, still well into twilight.
Blow it up, click on it – see it right there, just barely above that middle tree?
Yep, that’s all it was from LA tonight.
There are some fantastic pictures coming out of more Northern climes – Vancouver, Chicago, England, Northern Europe, all have been producing spectacular images. That’s because there it’s not by the horizon, it’s overhead. And it’s not just after sunset, it’s up late at night when it’s dark. That in turn means that they can do exposures that are 30, 60, 120 seconds long or even longer. I could barely do 1/3 of a second before the whole frame went white with overexposure.
It looked a little better in binoculars, but not as good as it did four & five days ago in the morning sky.
Every night it’s about 3° higher at the same time, so in a week it will be up by the Big Dipper over two hours after sunset. I’ll still have to deal with the LA light pollution and haze, and the comet is getting dimmer by the day as it pulls away from the Sun, but I may get better results.
Speaking of other pictures out there, there’s one that’s getting a ton of exposure, showing a range of extremely bright rainbow colors and a ton of twirly, spiral detail in the tail.
It’s fake. (I won’t even bother to show the image or give it any additional exposure – believe me, you’ll know it if you see it.)
It might have started with an actual photo of the comet, but from there it’s had so much processing and colorizing and effects added that it’s barely even an art piece, let alone an actual representation of what the comet really looks like.
If the best scientists in the world with the best telescopes in the world are producing something that’s white, smooth, maybe with a blue ion tail (that’s an actual thing and real) but an 18-year-old kid with a 200mm lens produces an image that’s too good to be true… Yeah, do the math. It’s pretty, but it’s also 100% bogus.