Neowise? In no wise.
Night 3 of my Quest to See the Comet was last night. A little after sunset, I drove over to the Skidmore Bluffs to see if our heavenly visitor was visible from there.
I had never been there before; my teenagers told me about it. It's a park. I think the official name is Mocks Crest. Anyway, as night was falling, there were several dozen young people sitting around in the grass in groups of three, four, five. I saw a grand total of two face masks, aside from the one I was wearing. I kept a good distance between me and everybody else. I must have looked pretty creepy. I kinda felt that way.
The view from the edge of the bluff is pretty much straight west, but if you looked to the right, you were looking northwest. Anything north of northwest was blocked by trees. But they said the big iceball was in the northwest, and so I figured we had a shot.
There I sat in the gathering gloom, peering through binoculars, then through the naked eye, then back through the binoculars, scanning the northwest sky for a glimpse of the comet. Some of the youthful park patrons were looking for it, too. This went on for a little over an hour.
As I trudged back to the car, I was impressed by how quiet the young folks were being. Pretty mellow crowd. An occasional hint of weed in the air, but no more than you'd get walking around the neighborhoods these days. I saw zero alcohol, although there probably was a little. The park has a lot of close neighbors, and there must be some kind of understanding among everybody up there. If a party got started with that many people, it would be awfully loud.
Speaking of loud, I couldn't get over the absolute din we were all subjected to from the railroad yard and Swan Island below. Trains constantly banging together, and lots of tractor trailer engine noise. The place was really humming. It went on the whole time I was up there.
I tried to see the hospital ship Mercy, which is in dry dock over on the island, but it was too dark, and I wasn't sure where I should be looking, anyway. There's a trip for an afternoon, perhaps.
So was I looking right at the comet, and just didn't see it? There was a lot of light pollution from down below. Or maybe it was behind those trees? Maybe I gave up and went home too early.
Oh, well. I went to a new place. I discovered where kids hang out on a weeknight during a pandemic. That was something.
A couple of hours later, my phone dinged to let me know that my daughters are, once again, a few steps ahead of me. Here was the view one of them had from her campground earlier in the evening.