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Celestial body: photographer captures comet

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Early birds over the next few days could catch a rare celestial sight as a comet streaks by in the northeastern sky.

Comet NEOWISE, named after the Nasa mission that spotted it a few months ago, was snapped above Hamilton early yesterday by photographer LeShun Smith.

Clear skies and patience rewarded Mr Smith with a shot of the icy rock, which passed close enough to the Sun on July 3 to create a trail of vapour as the comet's ice vaporised in the heat.

Mr Smith, stationed at Salt Kettle, Paget, photographed the comet and its trail.

The new comet got its name from the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer spacecraft, tasked with tracking asteroids, which sighted it in March.

Mr Smith, 30, is followed by the Bermuda Audubon Society for his bird shots — but also striking pictures of the night skies.

He spotted news of Comet NEOWISE on Wednesday on CNN and found out more from astrophotographers on YouTube such as Welsh photographer Alyn Wallace.

Mr Smith tried to capture an image of the comet from Gibbs Hill Lighthouse in Southampton the night before but was foiled by cloud cover.

He said; “It looked more like a fuzzy star than the stereotypical comet with tail.”

But the shot given to The Royal Gazette was taken in a clear predawn, just as the sun crept up and muted the dazzle from the city lights.

Mr Smith planned to head back out early today and hoped an area of high pressure would bring clear skies. The International Space Station will swing near the comet at about 5.30am.

Mr Smith recommended binoculars for looking at the comet, which is not expected back for almost 7,000 years.

Rare sight: Comet NEOWISE captured yesterday morning above Hamilton ( Photograph by LeShun Smith)
Striking image: LeShun Smith, a photographer who has made a name for himself highlighting nature (Photograph supplied)

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Published July 11, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated July 11, 2020 at 8:41 am)

Celestial body: photographer captures comet

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