Lunchtime Photo

Did I go out over the weekend to see the comet? Of course I did! My brother and I went out Friday night to a dark spot near Palomar Mountain, and we were lucky that the sky was exceptionally clear and still. A little after 9:00 we stopped to get our bearings and to check on whether we could see anything—and we could, though only barely. Here’s a full-frame picture that’s pretty close to what you can see with your naked eye. Neowise is at the bottom center:

I amped up the contrast a little bit to make Neowise more visible in the picture. In real life, I could make it out if I turned by head left and right slowly, but if I just looked straight at it I couldn’t really see anything. My brother brought a pair of binoculars, and those made Neowise clearly visible.

Having done that, I kept driving into darker territory and took a better picture at about a quarter to ten:

July 18, 2020 — On Highway 79 near Warner Springs, California

This is cropped, and with a longer exposure time than the first picture. I also fiddled with the contrast in Photoshop a bit more. In any case, Neowise is very clearly visible, and you can get a sense of its size by comparing it to the telephone poles.

So that’s that. I’ve now seen a comet and I can cross it off my bucket list.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

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