Comet Neowise Makes Some Noise

By Fritz Olenberger

Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), taken from Hope Ranch (Santa Barbara) July 15, 2020, at 9:43 p.m.  Canon 5D Mk IV, 85mm f/1.2 lens, 4-second exposure at f/1.4 and ISO 800.  The comet was almost invisible to the naked eye, but the time exposure and wide lens aperture made it possible for the camera to record it.  If you look closely, you can see the bifurcated tail.

By Ronald Williams

Here’s one I captured near La Cumbre Peak Wednesday night at 9:23 PM.

Here is another one that shows it is possible to photograph it in our SB neighborhoods.

By Henry L. Fechtman

Comet Neowise from Santa Barbara Harbor 7-16-20. 100 asa, 30 seconds, f4.5

Comet Neowise from Camino Cielo about 10:45 Friday night. 

By MacPuzl

Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE last night around 9:30 PM, reflecting in Lake Los Carneros.

By Chuck Cagara

Comet NEOWISE has been a first class comet, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Hale-Bopp in 1997.  The only nit to pick for many is that it has not been as bright as Hale-Bopp nor as large in the sky, thus making it more difficult to easily see with the naked eye. 

Never-the-less, photographs taken with shutter speeds of a few seconds or more have revealed its glory, including two superb tails – a bluish ion tail and the more traditional yellow-brown dust tail.  Both extend hundreds of thousands of miles into space.

The icy nucleus is approximately 3 miles in diameter and is surrounded by a beautiful aquamarine-colored coma.

My goal over several nights of photography (each session between 9:15 and 10:00 p.m.) was to look at the comet in three views – essentially from the macro to the micro.

So, I present all three here.

First, we have the macro view, where the comet is seen pretty much as viewed through human eyes, where its apparent size in the sky can be seen relative to the horizon trees and the Big Dipper.

Next, we see a medium close-up, designed to give a good view of the twin tails.

Finally, through a telephoto lens, we are able to have a fine view of the nucleus and are able to see the beautifully colored coma.

So, please enjoy my series “From the Macro to the Micro.”

And, if cryogenics is perfected, we can take another look in about 6,800 years!

Over and out for now…

By Merritt Adams

I shot this photo Friday night from Cielito area of the comet over Arlington and Cathedral Peaks, with La Cumbre Peak at the far right.

For the next week or so, the comet will be visible from 9:15 pm to 10:15 or a bit later as the week goes on.  The comet will be low on the northwest horizon, a little bit to the right of where the sun goes down, almost straight under the “bucket” of the Big Dipper.

By Haling

These images were taken on Saturday night from Farren road.  It is a good spot because the city lights are on the other side.  As it was getting dark my son spotted the comet first.  We then got a magnificent and bright view through our 20×80 binoculars.  The pictures are 20 second exposures by a Fuji X-a1 (IR-modified) with a Canon nifty fifty lens at 6400 ISO.  The tree was light painted for 3 seconds with a cell phone.  The Milky Way was surprisingly clear on the other side so we added one.  


Written by Fritz

Fritz Olenberger is a Santa Barbara based photographer. See more of his work at

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