More precisely, C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), the comet that made most of us astrophotographers this year, even if for a short while. It was a stunning view from lake Balaton, Hungary. The picture was taken on 20 July from a spot along the shoreline where city lights were a bit less disturbing (but not far from the famous “Plázs Siófok” actually, full of nightlife). The skies were not particularly kind to us, we had significant cloud cover most of the nights, and lots of humidity – while C/2020 F3 NEOWISE was already getting farther away from Earth and fading every day. We were desperately waiting for the opportune moment to capture the comet and the magical atmosphere of the starry Balaton nights, with the twinkling lights from the northern beach on the other side of the lake.
A few days back was our very first attempt to catch this spectacular target, then still in its full glory. Having had no equipment, we just managed to get a tripod on the afternoon of 18 July 2020. After several trials, this zoomed-in picture became or best shot, showing some of the straight, blueish ion tail and the bright, curved dust tail. It was taken from a parking place next to a small chapel, on the hills that rise above Zalaegerszeg. Thanks to Attila Tüske and Barnabás Tóth for the idea and the assistance!
Coming back to the Netherlands we had again poor weather. We tried to make a few pictures through the clouds in Hoogeveen, but the comet was barely visible in the bright night skies. Our last chance to catch the rapidly fading comet in the constellation Coma Berenices (below the Big Dipper, low on the horizon) was on 30 July from fields (Heide) near Dwingeloo. This time we used a just acquired fast lens from Yongnuo (see technical details below). The lens proved to be excellent for portraits, but less much for stars so we got rid of it quickly. Anyway, here is our last shot of C/2020 F3 NEOWISE. But we were hooked to astrophotography!
18 July 2020, Egerszeg hegy, Kápolna-Hegyi út, Zalaegerszeg (Hungary)
Canon EOS 600D, Tamron 70-300mm @70mm, f/5.6, 10x10sec, ISO1600
(Note some of the brightest stars were removed to emphasize the comet better.)
20 July 2020, Siófok (Hungary)
Canon EOS 600D, Canon EF-S 18-55mm @18mm, f/5, 10x10s, ISO6400
Better resolution image
30 July 2020, Dwingelderveld National Park, Dwingeloo (Netherlands)
Canon EOS 600D on tripod,
Yongnuo 50mm, f/1.8, 30x10s, ISO3200