Comet Neowise – July 2020

On the 12th July 2020 at 01:52 I was working nights and heading back to base for a break. In the north west, low in the sky we saw a strange smudge. It was comet Neowise.

In the UK we have a moderate amount of light pollution which can make seeing the deep sky or faint objects difficult, even in North Derbyshire the cities, towns and villages lights can be bright. As we moved away from the town and down the country lanes the more severe light pollution eased with only the distant lights of Sheffield approximately 10 miles away. We pulled the ambulance over and looked in amazement at the comet.

Using an iPhone with a 10sec timed exposure I was able to get the image of the comet. Whilst not as good a picture that could have been taken with specialist camera and telescopes I was still impressed and pleased with the result.

One thing you cannot tell from the picture is just how dark it really was, it seems very well lit due to the timed exposure.

After this night the weather changed and I was not able to see the comet again. At least I got to see it and this time had a picture to prove it unlike when we had the magnificent comet Hale-Bopp back in 1995 which looked amazing both with the naked eye and through binoculars.

July was also a good month for some interesting pictures of the sky.

These were all taken with an iPhone.

Exploring The Universe

From an early age and looking up at the millions of stars in amazement I have had an interest in astronomy.

Orion Starblast 4.5 Reflector Telescope. 113mm mirror and 450mm focal length.

Many people, myself included, visit places all around the world to see the natural wonders, take photos and appreciate nature at its best. In places such as Natural Parks, Rain Forests and the mountain ranges. So what’s the difference to looking out across the landscape to looking up at The Moon? The answer is so simple: The distance to our moon is hundreds of thousands of miles whilst the galaxies and nebula can be millions of light years.

Simple image of the moon taken by an iPhone through the eye piece of the Starblast 4.5.

The Moon, planets, stars, nebula and galaxies in the night sky are just as much a part of the natural wonders of this world. Unlike say visiting the Peak District which can be easily reached in a small car exploring the Lunar landscape takes a little more effort and money.

Orion SkyQuest XT10g Reflector Telescope. 254mm mirror and 1200mm focal length.

You don’t need a Saturn V and billions in cash to be amazed at the universe, a small telescope can do the trick from your own back garden and gives a wow factor that’s well worth the money spent. I won’t go into the details of what telescope to buy as there are many web sites and You Tube videos that do this already.

The wow factor of looking at the mountains and craters on the moon, seeing the cloud bands and moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, the phases of Venus, seeing a distant galaxy, new stars just born in the Orion Nebula and the thousands of stars inside a globular cluster.

The biggest draw backs of this hobby: The British weather, light polluted skies and resisting the temptation to spend more money to buy bigger and better gear for that better view.