Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE: a close-up – 15 July 2020.
After imaging it with large field-of-view lenses, we could finally capture a close-up of comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE. Images show a dramatic structure of dust waves, resembling those observed in comet Hale-Bopp in 1997.
To obtain the views above, we collected 79, 3-seconds exposures, remotely taken with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at Virtual Telescope. Those 79 frames were averaged before applying a Larson-Sekanina gradient (up) and unsharp masking (bottom) filtering. The telescope tracked the fast apparent motion of the comet. The object was very low (12 deg.) above the NW horizon, at twilight.
A complex structure is visible, showing several dust waves on the left side of the nucleus, where the Sun is. This resembles what seen in several bright comets, like comet Hale-Bopp in 1997 and comet C/2001 Q4 Neat in 2004.
Next 23 July, with the comet at its minimum distance from the Earth, we will show C/2020 F3 NEOWISE live, online!
We planned an intense coverage of this comet for the next weeks.
Support The Virtual Telescope Project!
If everyone reading this right now would donate something, our fundraiser would be done in a few days. Please, donate and receive unique, LIMITED EDITION set of images of the Chinese CZ-5B falling rocket, captured from Rome, images of the International Space Station above Rome and more, specifically made for supporters like you!
donate now (you can adjust the amount later)