Sunday, July 19, 2020

Comet Hunt

New Moon

Looks like I might have to wait 6,800 years to see NEOWISE the comet. Do you think Social Security will last that long?

I rumbled up San Juan Canyon a few miles last night before sunset to a roadside turnout with a decent view of the northwest sky, facing Polaris. I could easily see the horizon rising  to cover up El Sol from the same spot.

Polaris was straight up above the center of this photo. 
The Sun was to the left of everything in the above picture.
Judging from the presence of the significant marine layer coming in from the coast to cover up the lowlands, I was a little dubious that the comet would be visible from my little perch. The rolling fog monster is quite normal for my neck of the woods, especially this time of year. It's a good thing, keeping our evening and morning temperatures cool and bringing much needed moisture to the trees. But for comet viewing? Not so ideal.

I stayed through the sunset, having read on the Weird World Web that just after sundown was the optimal comet-catching time.

Even though I didn't get glimpse one of NEOWISE, I am glad I took the time to wind my way up the canyon to try. It was a calm, peaceful way to end the day. Normally, I am getting ready for bed right about then, so it was kind of an adventure in itself to be upright and alert enough to drive.

By the time I got back to camp, it was after 9 and dark. Some Dude on the Web was now saying the best time to see the comet was between 10:00 and 10:15 p.m. in the northwest sky, just below Polaris. Well, what do you know? Maybe there was still a chance. 

So I jumped back into Spugly and chugged around the corner by my friend Armando's ranchito to see if I could get a look from there. He usually has a nice clear view of the sunset from his property, unlike my camp which is surrounded by tall redwoods. But all I could see was dark sky and black clumpy fog rolling over the hills. No Moon. No Sun. No Polaris. No NEOWISE. 

I do not have photographic evidence of that, so use your imagination.

I am now more motivated than ever to eat right, exercise, and avoid crowds of virus-spewing drunkards. I may have to tough it out here in San Juan Bautista for another 6,800 SIP years.

Peace, Love, and Cost of Living Adjustments,

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