Night Sky



Comet neowise.


C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) or Comet NEOWISE is a comet discovered on March 27, 2020, by astronomers during the NEOWISE mission of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope.  It has the systematic designation C/2020 F3, indicating a non-periodic comet which was the third discovered in the second half of March 2020.


For observers in the northern hemisphere, in the morning, the comet appears very low above the north-eastern horizon, below Capella. In the evening, the comet can be seen low in the north-western sky. The comet can be seen in the morning and evening because it is circumpolar north of the 45th parallel north. On July 17, Comet NEOWISE entered the constellation of Ursa Major, below the asterism of the Big Dipper (The Plough).


Its closest approach to Earth will occur on July 23, 2020, 01:14 UT, at a distance of 0.69 AU (103 million km; 64 million mi) while located in the constellation of Ursa Major.


By early July, Comet NEOWISE had brightened to magnitude 1, far exceeding the brightness attained by previous comets, C/2020 F8 (SWAN), and C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS). By July, it also had developed a second tail. The first tail is blue and made of gas and ions. There is also a red separation in the tail caused by high amounts of sodium. The second twin tail is a golden color and is made of dust, like the tail of Comet Hale–Bopp.


On July 13, 2020, a sodium tail was confirmed by the Planetary Science Institute's Input/Output facility.  Sodium tails have only been observed in very bright comets like Hale–Bopp and sungrazer C/2012 S1 (ISON).  By July 5, NASA's Parker Solar Probe had captured an image of the comet, from which astronomers also estimated the diameter of the comet nucleus at approximately 5 km (3 mi).


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C/2020_F3_(NEOWISE)



Comet Neowise

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

July 18, 2020


Big Dipper is seen in upper left central of photograph



Comet Neowise

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota


Photo of the Day- July 18, 2020


One of the most fascinating details about Comet NEOWISE is that it won't return to our skies for another 6,800 years. But that's not the only thing that makes this icy space rock special.  Comets, often nicknamed "cosmic snowballs," are icy, rocky objects made up of ice, rock and dust. These objects orbit the sun, and as they slip closer to the sun most comets heat up and start streaming two tails, one made of dust and gas and an "ion tail" made of electrically-charged gas molecules, or ions.


As a comet nears the sun, it warms up and material pulls away from the surface into a tail. Often, dust is pulled away along with gases from sublimating (going directly from solid to a gas) ice. This dust tail is the sweeping trail seen in most comet images. Comets also have an ion tail made up of ionized gas blown back by the solar wind.


The comet is traveling at about 40 miles per second (that's about 144,000 mph, or 231,000 km/h).


https://www.space.com/comet-neowise-strange-facts.html



Comet Neowise

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

July 18, 2020



Comet Neowise

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

July 18, 2020


Why does Comet Neowise have Two Tails?


First documented by Tycho Brahe (1546- 1601) in the late 1500s, comets have two tails, both always pointing directly away from the sun. The main tail on Neowise's right appears grey/white in color. The second tail on the left is faint, blue and in a straight line. The main tail is caused by the sun's radiation expelling dust from the comet. The smaller tail is caused by the sun's ultraviolet light ionizing carbon monoxide and creating an ion tail. Comet Neowise is 3 miles in diameter, traveling at 144,000 mph, and will return in 6,800 years! 



Comet Neowise

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

July 18, 2020



Comet Neowise

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

July 18, 2020



Comet Neowise

Petrified Forest, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota


Photo of the Day- July 24, 2020



Constellation Cassiopeia

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

July 18, 2020



Constellation Cassiopeia

Petrified Forest, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

July 24, 2020



Milky Way

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

July 18, 2020



Milky Way

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

July 18, 2020



Milky Way

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

July 18, 2020



Milky Way

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

July 18, 2020



Milky Way

Petrified Forest, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

July 24, 2020



Observation Blind

Painted Woods Wildlife Management Area, McLean County

August 15, 2020



This photograph was taken on Saturday night, photo of the day for August 15, 2020. In the top center, the bright light is the planet Jupiter. To its left is the planet Saturn. The glow in the left lower area is from the lights of Bismarck. The asterism "The Teapot" is to the lower right of Jupiter and is composed of the brightest stars of the constellation Sagittarius. To the right of "The Teapot" is the Milky Way.


Southern Sky

Painted Woods Wildlife Management Area, McLean County

 

Photo of the Day- August 15, 2020



Saturn and Jupiter Conjuction!


Saturn and Jupiter and Jupiter's Moons

Callisto, Io, Europa and Ganymede

   Burleigh County, North Dakota


was cloudy after December 19 and I was unable to photograph on December 21

Photo of the Day- December 19, 2020



  Moonset at Sunrise

Burleigh County, North Dakota

 

Photo of the Day- 2/26/2021


Sometimes, when the moon is setting, it will pick up some reddish light (longer wavelength gets through our atmosphere better) from the sunrise.

 

Mars and the Seven Sisters

Burleigh County

March 3, 2021


On March 3, 2021, the red planet Mars and the famous Pleiades star cluster – also known as the Seven Sisters – staged their closest conjunction on the sky’s dome until 2038. Mars swung 2.6 degrees south of the Pleiades, which appeared on our sky’s dome as a tiny, misty dipper of stars. They were a lovely sight in the evening sky.  It was the closest Mars-Pleiades conjunction since January 20, 1991, when Mars passed 1.7 degrees south of the Pleiades.  Looking ahead, Mars and the Pleiades won’t be as close again as they are this year until February 4, 2038. Mars will swing 2.0 degrees south of the Pleiades that year.


https://earthsky.org/tonight/closest-mars-pleiades-conjunction-until-2038


The Pleiades also known as the Seven Sisters and Messier 45, is an open star cluster containing middle-aged, hot B-type stars in the north-west of the constellation Taurus. It is among the star clusters nearest to Earth, it is the nearest Messier object to Earth, and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky.  The cluster is dominated by hot blue and luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. Reflection nebulae around the brightest stars were once thought to be left over material from their formation, but are now considered likely to be an unrelated dust cloud in the interstellar medium through which the stars are currently passing.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleiades


The Pleiades were the seven daughters of the titan Atlas and the sea-nymph Pleione born on Mount Cyllene.  After Atlas was forced to carry the heavens on his shoulders, Orion began to pursue all of the Pleiades, and Zeus transformed them first into doves, and then into stars to comfort their father. The constellation of Orion is said to still pursue them across the night sky.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleiades_(Greek_mythology)