Alright admit it, who else makes whooooshing sounds while they look at their pictures of the comet?! You can pm me if you feel silly admitting it in public
What a stunning beautiful comet Neowise has been! Like many of you my first sighting of it was the night of the 11th July with the awesome display of Noctilucent clouds, what a night!
I drove out of town and stood in some fields of wheat watching, here is a stack of about 15 minutes worth of 2.5 seconds at 135mm on the 55-250mm Canon lens and 550D
And a pano of the Noctilucent clouds and comet
The next night was also clear and i had been looking for places to go where i could get a nice foreground with the comet, such as a church or lake. I headed out and got to my spot but soon as i got there i wasn't happy with the location and i was right beside the main road which didn't feel right, so decided to head back toward home and check out another place i had thought might work. It was already around midnight at this point and not loads of time for good darkness so was worried i might miss out on this clear night. On the way there i decided to cut through a village as a short cut and soon as i enter it there was this view
I had been through there quite recently but completely forgot about the church. As i got there i could just see the tail of the comet rising over the church so waited a bit for it to rise and got some pictures. I stayed there the rest of the night, at one point there was a Tawny Owl in a tree behind me calling out and what looked and sounded like 2 or 3 young fox running about on the road near the street light bottom left of the picture.
I have a CG5 GT mount and C80ED Refractor but i haven't used them in years, partly because what was a field at the bottom of my garden is now around 150 houses and i've been quite happy just stargazing, so wanted to try and see the comet through it and took it out in my yard one night. It was a complete disaster, i couldn't get it aligned and going where i wanted it to so i spent the next week checking the manual and loads of videos to try and make sure i had everything covered and be ready for the next clear night. What looked like a clear night finally came, although there was patchy cloud, so i loaded everything into my car and headed for a dark spot out of town and partly setup but unfortunately after a couple of hours the cloud never cleared so i headed back home.
The following night was clear though, so i went out to the same spot and got setup and spent about an hour aligning the mount and finally when i asked it to go to a star it would slew to it precisely. I got the coordinates of the comet off the internet on my mobile and entered them into the hand controller and pressed enter and it started slewing over to the comet, the moment i watched it arrive in the eyepiece is a moment i'll never forget! It was awesome, thinking back i wish i had took more time just looking at it through the eyepiece. I had planned to ride my camera with a wider angle lens on top of my scope to capture a wider FOV of the comet but my instant reaction was to rush over to my car and grab my camera and attach it prime focus to the telescope and start taking some lights!
So i did 2 rounds of lights for about 20 minutes each of 15 seconds ISO 1600, stacked in DSS and processed in Affinity photo. I couldn't get DSS to align the 2 sets together so did them separately and 1 for the stars, merged them all together after some processing and then finished it off as one image.
I chose to rotate the comet until it faced a corner of the picture and then noticed when i rotated it that for some reason i liked to look up at it more rather than when it was facing down, it also made the Ion tail more noticeable so even though its not exactly how i imaged it, as a picture i like it. I'll probably rotate it again at some point but i started going a bit crazy after processing for hours and not getting stacking working properly, it got to a point where i think i was going in circles trying to make it look as balanced and natural as possible.
I had taken my tripod out when i got this image because i was prepared to not be able to get the mount working properly at all and would just do some more static widefields, so i'm well chuffed looking back on this picture now! And its been great seeing everyone else's pictures the last few weeks of this awesome comet. What a treat!
All the best,