I have seen five comets in my life that I can remember. This is a picture of the sunset from the night that I saw Neowise. I do not have a picture of a comet yet. The spot I chose to see Neowise had the light pollution from the local mall complex washing out any chance of a photo. It did make its company know through the glare. I could see it unaided.
When PanSTARRS came in, I was standing in the same spot. The one other observer at the time handed me a pair of binoculars so I could see it. It was a small flash in the haze on the horizon, much less visible than the light captured in this picture as the planet rotates and our star drops out of view.
I made some comment to the man that I do not count comets that I cannot see unaided, but that was just dissapointment on my part. I did see Halley’s comet in 1986 at the Jewett Observatory. It was a snowball in the lense without a tail.
Hyakutake was in 1996, seen in a dark-well of a lot behind where I was living at the time. It was a wonderful spot to stargaze at night. Suburban sprawl has taken it. That was just after the big flood along Paradise Creek. It was the winter thaw where I saw storm drains turn into geysers through their iron covers before they were inundated.
The comet I spent the most times watching was Hale-Bopp. That was in 1997. There was a dark-well behind some silos, the rails have been pulled now, but the silos are still there. They are no longer in use for seed storage I believe. Lord knows what cuning plan the entrepeneur who bought them has in mind. He is using them as neon-propoganda for another one of his ventures at the moment. Hale-Bopp was impressive, and gave some of the Heaven’s Gate people a way off the planet.
I have seen five comets in my life. I am not sure if I believe that omen of doom stories about them. Maybe it is just that when people who see them, they are awake past sundown for some reason. Maybe something is keeping them awake.