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Photographer Todd Bush Captures Early Morning Photos of Comet NEOWISE Streaking Through the Sky

Todd sent in this photo from this morning, July 9, saying, “Shining brightest yet this morning, mostly out of our daily July clouds, found this stellar comet of 2020 shoulder to shoulder with High Country legend Grandfather Mountain.”
Photographer Todd Bush captured several photos this morning of Comet NEOWISE in the sky above the High Country. The comet is pictured here over Snake Mountain and Elk Knob.

By Nathan Ham

Capturing a visual of Comet NEOWISE was not exactly planned, according to local photographer Todd Bush.

“The comet surprised comet watchers and kind of came out of nowhere unexpectedly,” said Bush. “Some are saying that it could be another Hale-Bopp (comet) in terms of visually easy for people to see in our neck of the woods.”

People looking into the night sky had been tracking two other known comets as they passed by Earth. However, this third one was a bit of an unknown. Comet NEOWISE was discovered on March 27 and passed closest to the sun on July 3.

Bush described how he was able to get his first selection of photos. “When I first head about it a few days ago, I got up to see it that first morning and didn’t really get anything too great,” he said. “The next morning when I got the first set of photos, I perched a ladder on top of my deck and stood on a handrail to get above the trees to get the shots I got that showed Snake Mountain and Elk Knob.”

Comet NEOWISE should be able to be seen with the naked eye through the end of July.

“NEOWISE is a real treat. From what I understand with the compass heading the last few days if you can look into the northeast sky as close to the horizon view as you can get, there is a window between 4 a.m. and sunrise to see it,” said Bush.

He added that the peak time to see the comet will be between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m. over the next week because there will be less moonlight interference.

“The comet has come towards our solar system, went around the sun, and is heading out of the solar system. It’s going to be getting fainter as it goes but it’s also going to be higher above the horizon haze at our latitude and that will make it even better and easier to see,” Bush said.

Todd has always been generous sharing his photos with the High Country Press and numerous cover photos for our High Country Magazine.

“That’s the whole point of taking photos, I share them with others who may or may not have gotten the chance to see it and would enjoy a photo of it,” said Bush.

Photos courtesy of Todd Bush

Once the comet appeared above the clouds, a spectacular sunrise was in the making.

Once day began to break, the comet washed out, then the sunrise amazed.