10x30 binoculars 10 x
July 18, 2020 02:00 UT
Spotted Comet NEOWISE about 2.5 to 3 degrees east of Kappa (Alkaphrah) and Iota (Talitha) Ursae Majoris, the two front "paws" of the Great Bear. There has been substantial media coverage of this comet, and deservedly so; while not as spectacular as Hale-Bopp in '97, you can still make out a faint tail with the naked eye, even in suburban Ottawa. Approximate visual magnitude of 3.5 to 4 (JPL estimates 5.68 right now but I think it is brighter, otherwise I wouldn't be able to see it from my location). Closest approach will be on July 23rd at 103 million kilometers; at the time of this sketch it is 108 million kilometers away. The tail in 10x30 binoculars is very obvious, extending at least 1 degree out from the core; averted vision reveals fainter extensions an additional 1/2 degree further. Obvious tiny core of a coma which is clearly brighter than the tail. The view in the binoculars is comparable to what Hale-Bopp looked like with the naked-eye (see March 26th 1997 sketch of Hale-Bopp).