NEOWISE | Evening and Morning Views

We were finally blessed with clear skies and got our first views of C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), or Comet NEOWISE. Most sightings by others thus far have been in the early pre-dawn hours. This week, NEOWISE will become a better evening apparition after 9:30 pm.

Last evening on 12 July, we went to our viewing site with a clear view of the northwest horizon. It was predicted to be at a direction of 328˚ and an altitude of 6˚ above the horizon. (West = 270˚, North = 360˚) Your fist at arm’s length is about 10˚ tall. We scanned with binoculars for several minutes as the sky slowly darkened. There it was.

Canon PowerShot SX60 HS | ISO1600 | 1 sec | Full Zoom

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Astro-Images | Centaurus-A

Centaurus-A is located in the southern hemisphere skies.  I have never seen it from my location 42˚ north latitude. It rises only 5˚ above my southern horizon in early December. I’m certain it is very familiar to my blogger friend Roger in Australia.  It is the 5th brightest galaxy and easily viewed by amateurs. It contains a black hole of 55 million solar masses ejecting jets of x-ray and radio wavelengths. Models suggest the galaxy collided with another smaller galaxy in the past leading to areas of star formation in the resulting complex structure. I enjoyed combining 3 greyscale Hubble images into this composite. In the center are several newly formed bluish stars. The dark areas are dust blocking the passage of light.

Centaurus-A | Hubble Legacy Archive | My Version

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Venus Moon Size Comparison

On the morning of 17 June 2020, the Moon presented this nice crescent. The camera was at full zoom.

Eight days later, Venus presented in the same place at the same time with the same crescent shape. The camera was again at full zoom. The images are to scale.