Great emotion among GAT scholars of Tradate for the big scoop of Paolo Bardelli, one of the most prolific astrophotographers of the translated amateurs.
«Sunday 5th July, just before dawn at 4.15 am, taking advantage of the extreme cleanliness of the north-east horizon, Paolo managed to capture the first suggestive images of the comet NeoWISE, so-called because discovered last March 27, 2020, by the NeoWISE satellite on an inclined orbit of 128 ° traveled in about 7 million years, therefore potentially LITTLE consumed or rich in volatile materials. Sunday morning the comet was clearly visible both with the naked eye and with a normal 10 × 50 binoculars, as well as easily photographable with a fixed Canon 6d + 50 mm lens, despite being very low on the East horizon which was already clearing for ‘incipient dawn ».
The images captured by Paolo B. with the classic are truly spectacular Canon 60Da equipped with a 200mm tele: «The comet shows a wide dusty tail, folded exactly U around a very luminous nucleus which can be estimated (by comparison with a couple of nearby stars) at least FIRST magnitude (the brightness of the brightest stars in the sky). Taking advantage of the clear days of the next few days, anyone, before dawn and with a simple pair of binoculars, will be able to experience the subtle emotion of observing the new long-haired star. It should be remembered that on this comet there was a lot of expectation but also a lot of uncertainty. A sudden increase (typical of an excess of degassing of new comets) of 4 magnitudes of NeoWISE in mid-April 2020 made the scientific world ‘alert’ first, then watered down enthusiasm, because the brightness ‘frozen’ then for the following month , immediately recalling the disappointing behavior of the two similar comets ATLAS (C / 2019 Y4) and SWAN (C / 2020 F8), which had preceded it in recent months. But then, starting in mid-May the NeoWSE (then visible only from the southern hemisphere) began to behave “normally” gradually increasing the brightness in harmony with the approach to the Sun “.
«By mid-June it was verging on visibility with the naked eye and wondered what would happen with the approach to the perihelion of 3 July at ‘only’ 45 million km from the Sun., an often lethal distance for the safety of the comet nucleus. Fortunately, from 22 to 29 June the NeoWISE having entered the field of view of the C3 coronograph of the SOHO probe, could be followed as it approached the Sun, showing an increase from m = 4 (entering field C3) to m = 2 , 2 of last June 28 (just before going out), then a jump of 8 times (!) A few days from perihelion. Saturday morning the first positive indications arrived: NeoWISE had survived the perihelion unscathed and its brightness had further increased, making it clearly visible for about ten days at dawn, this time in our hemisphere. From mid-July it will become an object that is increasingly visible to the naked eye (m 1 to 2) also of first evening, just below the Ursa Major, up to the perigee (minimum distance from Earth) of July 23 from 103 million km. So let’s get ready for a great celestial show, without forgetting that the behavior of comets is often unpredictable both for better and for worse ».