My first ever comet photo.

I have been waiting for an opportunity to see the Comet NEOWISE since I heard about it at the beginning of July.  When it was visible over the pre-dawn, northeast horizon last week, the sky Austin was overcast.  This week it is supposed to be visible after sunset.

Last night the sky was clear, so I grabbed my binoculars and camera and headed out to try to find a vantage point looking to the northwest horizon.  I found a parking garage that I thought might provide a view.   Since it was in the midst of Austin’s bright city lights, “visible” wouldn’t mean visible to the naked eye.   I was not able to sight it in my binoculars, either.  Instead, I took a number of shots using long exposure pointing at different areas of the sky in the general direction of where NEOWISE was supposed to be.  I did capture it in several photos.  Here’s the best one:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s definitely not NatGeo material, but I was excited to get it.   If conditions allow, I may try again.   If so, I’m hoping that my experience from last night will help me get a better picture.

 

Comet!

Comet PANSTARRS over Lake Travis.
Comet PANSTARRS over Lake Travis.

We were successful tonight!  The comet is definitely not as bright as it must have been just a few days ago.  I have seen some really clear pictures of it taken from Austin.  But, now that it is a bit higher in the sky, it sets later and so it may be easier to make out after the sun has set.  But it is definitely faint.  We drove out to Iguana Grill as the sun was setting.  I think we spotted it around 8:25pm, or about 50 minutes after sunset.  I was not able to see it with my naked eye.  We brought binoculars, and I was able to see it pretty clearly through those.   I used a 3-5 second exposure on my camera and was able to catch it faintly.  Can you see it to the left of the waxing cresent moon?
My first comet shot!