Date: July 21,2020

There is this comet named NEOWISE. The world found its existent only in March. And during July, as it is just passing by the Sun, it created a long visible tail. The world is crazy about it.

Me too. I have been waiting for it since last Thursday until now. And finally, we have small clear sky window towards the direction of Neowise yesterday (July 21) and I think I got it.

This is a shot taken from my iPhone on the preview screen of my camera which I took the Neowise comet yesterday. That small little vertical line is the Neowise!

It was 7:35, I just finished a mahjong session called by my boss. And I need to sent one of my mahjong kaki home too.

I was rushing and I keep calling my son Jay to ask whether can see it or not. All I heard is “Daddy, tonight again cannot see, too much clouds”.

When I reach home around 8:05, I quickly bring my tripod, and my camera and go up to my roof top garden and set up the camera. So, using my human eyes, I cannot see anything. I did see a lot of fighter jets flying very high up in the Singapore sky. Ya, it is National day preparation, all these fighter jets is flying in the sky. Wait a minute???? Is it because they (fighter pilots) also wanted to see the Neowise?

I used the Sky Safari to pin point the direction I should point my camera too. Without having lots of hope, I setup my camera just to take multiple 20-30 seconds long exposure shots.

There are a few issues of seeing this Neowise comet in Singapore.

  • The Neowise comet that is the brightest which is few days ago last week, is only a few degree above the horizon. And there is this big mount Pulai in JB blocking my view. So the comet I believe is behind the mount Pulai.
  • After a few days later, the sky getting darker and the comet position is higher above the horizon by few degrees per day. Unfortunately, the brightness also killed by quite some magnitude per day. In order words it become fainter each day passes.
  • Singapore is not a good country to see stars. The light pollution is really really bad. The Neowise can only visible starting from 7:30pm like day and the day still very bright. So, it is very hard to see.
  • Yesterday I was rushing back, so, the telescope is not sync with the star yet, so cannot track the Neowise. (75% of the sky has clouds, no stars, so Star Sense cannot sense the stars means cannot align the Telescope).
  • Since I am rushing back, I don’t have time to setup my Star Tracker too. So, I can only use my camera on a sturdy tripod and collect some lights. Later you will see why the Neowise is like a vertical lines.. this could be because there is a “star-trail” or “comet-trail” effect that makes the comet looks like a small short faint vertical line that you cannot even see it with your own eyes. I have to do 20 seconds to 30 seconds exposure to see it.
  • I am using 100-400mm f/4.5 lens. So, the “trails” will be much more severe I am guessing. But my star tracker only have star mode and moon mode for the rotation, so if it is comet, what mode I need to put on? I also don’t know and have no Tim to experience.
  • Even with a Star Tracker, I still have not have the proper method to align it to Polaris because we cannot see Polaris as it is only few degree above horizon. So every time I use the star tracker I am guessing the true North.

There you go. The Neowise direction. And it is high above the horizon. May be 7-10 degree. Let’s point the camera there and take the long exposure.

After taking a few photos. I think I took 6-7 photoes of long exposure with various SS timing ranged from 20-30 seconds.

When I examine the photos on the preview screen of my camera, I notice something is in the picture. A faint vertical lines in the last photo I took. And it is a vertical line, very faint, does not look like a comet. But later, when I examine the rest of the 6 photos, each one of them has that same vertical line and the position moved slightly in each photo too. So I quickly take out my iPhone to snap the following discovery..

This is the direction I am taking the shots.

When you zoom in, you see this. One very faint, vertical straight line. This is from a 30 seconds exposure. I cant even see it from the full picture, but when you zoom it, you see it right there.

So I quickly take a look at some other earlier photos…

And I found similar vertical lines at a higher position. The brightness is not there, because I think it is quite hazy. There is a whole big dark clouds on top if it too.

This is amazing. Neowise comet. The next time it occurs is 6800 years later according to some complicated mathematic probability calculations. Haha

You can’t even see it with your own eyes. So, after collecting about 25 seconds or lights (long exposure)… it appears in the photo.

Zoom in a bit.

Zoom in maximum. After applying some presets and filters.

I am enjoying this … processing the photo with different filters to highlight the comet Neowise. This one is to saturate the blue sky. So it looks blue even though it is black. Haha. And you can see that small little “dirt look alike” vertical line.

Maximum Zoom.

I am happy.

Although it does not look like a comet with one bright dot and a almost cylinder tail, I am happy of what I caught yesterday. No doubt it is a Neowise comet. This in fact is the first time I catch a comet on my camera, without a telescope.

By the time I finished my Neowise catching… my son Jay has already completed his manual alignment with the telescope and the East side of the sky is clear enough to see Saturn.

Cropped Saturn.


Cropped Jupiter

Another one…

This concludes the sky watch for tonight. Great catch with the Neowise.

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