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Get wise on NEOWISE

Hey star children, last night Amy, Allie and I adventured out at 11PM to check out NEOWISE, the once-every-6000-years comet currently zooming within naked eye spotting distance of the Earth. Out here in the field we have the advantages of few trees and limited light pollution to aid in spectacular views of NEOWISE! The comet is visible in the northwest sky, under the Big Dipper. Here are the resources we used to plan our trip– we found them super useful and we learned a lot about amateur astronomy!

The Clear Dark Sky website houses clear sky charts which include forecasts for weather, darkness and other factors influencing celestial body visibility.

The Clear Dark Sky website also has a light pollution overlay that you can use to determine areas of high light pollution to avoid during stargazing. You can adjust this in the map view of all clear sky charts in an area using the light pollution slider just over the map. Check out how dark the intersection of 27 and 54 is, 10 miles west of Hoffman– that’s where we went last night!

We also used Stellarium to determine when and where the comet would appear over the horizon.

Here’s a guide to measuring distances in the sky with your hands.

Happy stargazing!

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