Image: Copyright Donna Lach, used with permission
Comet NEOWISE is visible in an aurora-filled sky in this photo by Aurorasaurus Ambassador Donna Lach. The photo was taken early on July 14, 2020, in western Manitoba, Canada. The purple ribbon-like structure to the left is STEVE, an aurora-related phenomenon discovered with the help of citizen scientists working with the Aurorasaurus project. The bright streak near the top of the image is a meteor.
Lach tells how she captured the photo: “I took several shots of the comet a few days prior with my zoom lens, and caught a whiff of aurora in a few shots. I had hoped the aurora forecast was right, since we had clear skies the previous night. I fought off mosquitoes as I waited for the never-ending dusk to show me what was in the sky. Finally, at about 11:30 p.m. CDT, the aurora and comet were both appearing, and I could see it was going to be epic. The large, thick band of aurora soon started to dance, showing brilliant blues and purples looking to the west. When I saw some loops skipping out of the main band at the westward side, I was pretty sure I would see STEVE soon also, so I kept watching. Finally, at about 1:00 a.m., STEVE was visible. I was excited to see my wide-angle lens could capture the span from STEVE to NEOWISE, and got about 10 photos. I observed the incredible aurora for about 3 hours, and it sometimes stretched above me. At times NEOWISE was outshone by the brilliant aurora, but it was visible the entire time.”