Since its discovery March 27, Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE has turned into one of the most popular objects photographed in our skies. It comes as no surprise that our contest entries this week focused on the new feature in our sky.
Raphaël Dubuc’s photo, taken the morning of on July 9 in Saint-Georges-de-Windsor, Quebec, was one of the first submitted and won Photo of the Week July 17, 2020.
A composite of 40 two-second exposures from a Canon 6D with a Sky-Watcher Equinox 500mm lens, he used a focal ratio f/6.25.
“Wonderful, Comet NEOWISE,” he wrote. “No words to describe this beautiful thing.”
Rick Routledge’s landscape shot of Saturn, Jupiter and the Moon on July 5 took our honourable mention this week.
Taken from the Alouette River at Harris Road in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, he wrote about the night he took the image in his entry.
“As the Moon swept past Jupiter and Saturn on the evening of Sunday, July 5, a lone coyote called into the tranquil night. A farm dog on the far side of the Alouette River returned the challenge. I often find solace in these troubled times by experiencing the sights and sounds as darkness envelopes the lower Fraser Valley. Yet this evening was uniquely special. With Jupiter and Saturn only a few degrees apart, they clearly marked the Ecliptic, the plane containing the orbit of our planet about the Sun, and closely approximating the orbits of most of the others.
“Yet it was equally clear that the Moon was following a different track — a track that regularly precesses about the Ecliptic every 18.6 years of the lunar nodal cycle. About four years from now, the Moon will be over twice as far from the ecliptic as it is now, as far as it can go in that direction before swinging back toward the Ecliptic and then out equally far in the opposite direction.
“This modest cycle has a detectable impact on ocean tides, and through them, on sea temperatures off the west coast of North America, on atmospheric temperatures, and perhaps even on marine and terrestrial ecology.
“Perhaps the celestial events unfolding high in the night sky, reflected on the tranquil surface of the Alouette River, also impact the lives of the fish in the waters below.”
Routledge used a Canon 5D Mark III camera with a Canon EF 24-105 1:4 L IS USM lens. The focal ratio was f/5.6, and the image was taken with an eight-second exposure time.