Comet Neowise from Thornton Hollow Overlook-SNP

Myron Wasiuta

This morning I was able to observe the comet from Thornton Hollow Overlook along Skyline Drive at an elevation of about 2500 feet. The comet was easy naked eye with a 2-3 degree long slightly curved dust tail. I brought along my antique 5" f/15 achromat refractor and used it to observe the inner coma visually and also to photograph the comet using my iPhone 8 simply by holding it up to the eyepiece. As the telescope wasn't tracking, I was limited to simply "snapping" pictures. I stacked 10 of these and have attached the result. I was surprised that it turned out as well as it did considering the simple technique! The comet shows a distinct "nucleus shadow" effect, and I also noted a faint wing of light extending from the nucleus on either side and merging with and becoming the bright outer edges of the inner dust tail. I followed the coma into the brightening twilight using a 30 mm eyepiece (about 64X) and finally lost it to the bright sky at 5:40 AM. Telescopically, the fuzzy star-like coma appeared yellowish when I first started observing about 430AM, but by the time it faded into the brightening blue sky, it was pearly white.

I have also attached a couple images showing my telescope set up at the overlook. Another bonus to the comet was watching the Venus-Aldebaran conjunction rising over some distant mountains (pictures coming!)  I will also post my 300 mm telephoto images when I can.

Dr. Myron E. Wasiuta
President, MSRO Science, Inc
Director, Mark Slade Remote Observatory
Wilderness, VA USA