Three members of the Sweetwater Camera Club in Douglas County recently captured some amazing astrological images — including shots of Comet NEOWISE, formally known as C/2020 F3 NEOWISE.
The comet was discovered on March 27, 2020, by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE). The comet, which will fade away in early August, won’t pass the earth again for another 6,800 years.
Janet Newton, president of the camera club, her husband Paul and another camera club member, Nicolette Dunn, traveled to Lake Weiss, Alabama, to photograph the comet two weekends ago.
Janet Newton said that looking northwest on a clear night they saw the comet overlooking the lake for the first time.
“What a night,” Newton said. “It’s just amazing that we could see this amazing site in the sky so many million miles away. Definitely once in a lifetime to capture this comet.”
Comet NEOWISE is 64 million miles from earth. You can still view the comet on a clear evening facing west-northwest shortly after dusk.
“It’s a wonderful binocular view or other optical aid. First you will want to find the big dipper. Find the bottom left star and look to your left. Once you spot it with the binoculars you can remove them and glimpse the comet as a fuzzy object, using only the eye,” Newton said.
Using a long exposure, Dunn used her Canon camera and Janet used her Nikon and both captured the once-in-a lifetime view.
“The comet is harder to see when the crescent moon is in the sky, so if you can’t see, you just photograph the moon,” said Newton, whose husband did just that at their Douglasville home within the last week.
Newton said she captured another photo of the comet against a reddish-colored sky on another night at her home before clouds and the moon obscured the view.