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.

Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE: a close-up - 15 July 2020.

Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE: a close-up – 15 July 2020.

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.

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