Cosmic Church Visitor - Comet NEOWISE and noctilucent clouds above abandoned ND Big Coulee Church
Photograph - Photograph
Here is the beautiful comet NEOWISE photographed at about 3:30 AM on July 12, 2020 above the abandoned Big Coulee Lutheran church in Ramsey County, ND, on my third (and favorite) shooting attempt. This view is looking north northeast. The comet is now zooming away from the sun and is noticeably dimmer than even two nights before, but is still very beautiful, and will be visible in the evening sky now for a week or two. It won't be back for about 7000 years. This photograph is taken with a 135mm lens so comet appears somewhat larger than it would "by eye". I'll post another image as first comment to this post taken with a normal 50mm lens which gives a good approximation of "what you see by eye" when standing in same spot.
The beautiful glowing clouds above the church are called Noctilucent clouds (meaning "night shining" in Latin), and are created by dust and ice crystals in the upper atmosphere of Earth. They're somewhat rare (only visible during astronomical twilight about 1-2 hours before sunrise or after sunset) and this is the first time I've photographed them, so was very excited to catch comet AND clouds in this image! A lot of people on my FB page noticed that the brightest area of clouds looks like a dolphin swimming in them - I have to agree!
July 13th, 2020
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