Scope Diagram Astrocamera.Net - Astrophotography by Dave Kodama

C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE)


Setting Up
Setting up for the evening.
The close approach of Comet NEOWISE to Earth brought us out to my observatory for another look. Between the still low altitude of the comet from our latitude, sunset, the setting young moon, and city light pollution, unfortunately the comet did not look much better visually than Saturday evening. It was still a lot better for Jean who had not seen it from outside the city before this. Within the city, the comet was not visible at all to the naked eye.

Pixel 3a Comet NEOWISE
Comet NEOWISE (Pixel 3a).
While waiting for the sky to darken, we experimented with "Night Shot" mode on our Google Pixel 3/3a phones. Surprisingly, Comet NEOWISE actually showed up on a shot early in the evening. Later, when it was dark, the "smart" stacking software in the phone had more difficulty finding a reference for aligning the subexposures.


(stacked DSLR version).
Click to enlarge.
The wide-angle DSLR shots I took in raw format were taken later in the evening and stacked to give a smoother image which was contrast enhanced and color adjusted. The cellphone shot is a result of in-camera stacking of about 10 seconds of total exposure, and is pretty much enhanced as far as possible and only available in .jpg format. Still, it's amazing the one can get anything at all out of a tiny lens and sensor. And the Pixel 3a shot was done hand-held!

Milky Way - 10 sec. stack
A closer view of the comet (enlargement of a 70mm shot) can be seen at right. Click to enlarge.

Milky Way - Pixel 3
Sagittarius and Scorpius
As a final shot, Jean tried a Milky Way shot on the Pixel 3. The Milky Way can barely be seen, but the stars of the summer constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius are visible.