Neowise and Jupiter

A friend asked me yesterday whether I was up for an attempt at comet photography – since Neowise is currently visible in our skies. I hadn’t seen it yet, because it was either visible very early or quite late, but these days it’s visible around 23:30, which is… past my bedtime, but we don’t see comets every day, so I made an effort 😉

We went a bit outside of the city and, after a bit of meandering, found a spot where the comet was visible and there weren’t too much other lights around. (Note: roads in Switzerland have waaaay too many street lights.)

After a bit of fumbling (I need to train my camera gear manipulation in the dark!), including a very embarrassing “oh, THAT’S why I don’t have anything on my pictures! <removes the lens cap>”, I finally settled into trying to take pictures of stars 🙂

I don’t have much experience in astrophotography (… yet?), but I’ve shot the moon and the like enough that I do know a couple of things:

  • Earth moves more than I think it does
  • My camera live-view 16x zoom is my best friend when it comes to focus
  • I can definitely expose to the left, the data will be there, and less noisy than if I don’t
  • Wide aperture is my second best friend (I had taken my telelens “just in case”, it didn’t get out of the bag)
  • Shutter remote is my third best friend
  • My tripod is actually my BFF, even though it’s a pain to lug around

So I took some comet pictures, and it was nice, and I have one where you can see the double tail:

Looking in other parts of the sky, well. I had never seen that many shooting stars, and I definitely saw multiple yesterday. Someone mentioned that the two brighter spots we could see were planets – and indeed a quick check on phones established them to be Saturn and Jupiter, quite close from one another in the sky. There were attempts to see Saturn’s rings, but we didn’t have the right hardware for that, but… I HAVE JUPITER’S MOONS.

I am honestly amazed – I would NOT have expected that to be a/ at all visible b/ capturable with a 70mm lens 🙂 When it comes to astronomy and astrophotography, I definitely have more “star-struck” and “starry-eyed” enthusiasm than knowledge – although I actually learnt stuff yesterday. I also know that my camera DOES have an astrotracing feature, but I didn’t manage to make it work properly yesterday, I think. MORE EXPERIMENTS WARRANTED. Also, next time I shoot Jupiter, I probably need to take into account the fact that it’s ACTUALLY SUPER BRIGHT. Aaand I need to read up on astro photography processing, because right now I have no idea what I’m doing and there’s a fair chance it makes no sense (but the pictures are pretty!)

So, there. All in all, I’ll consider this astrophotography session a large success (because it makes me want to do more of it 🙂 ). I have some more pictures available in the full album: Neowise and Jupiter.

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