Two cottages, a farm and 43 acres of farmland, a smithy, all within a mile…
Seriously impressive dark skies encircle our cottage, set deep within a small hamlet, the skies are not tamed with city pollution. The milky way floates overhead like a torchlight from Zeus. The tawny owls squeak and squawk for midnight treats and the river sits and meanders quietly over the water carved stone.
Neowise woke up the astrophotography world, from its Milky Way slumber and announced itself to the world in pretty dramtic fashion. I admire those who manage to hawl themselves out of bed at unearthly hours to photograph deep sky objects, the moon, planets or even the comet or two.
The dark skies of the Brecon Beacons are dark, we have one of the first internationally recognised Dark Skies Reserves in the world. In Mid Wales there is little light pollution, so I expected, near demanded!, a good view of comet neowise.
What I did not expect is to be able to photograph Neowise from our garden. The night before this tale began, I headed out to Epynt. A place that has given me much joy before from a night and dark skies perspective. When we moved from Cardiff to our cottage, approximately three months after moving in, we got to see a glorious display of Aurora Borealis from above the Epynt. Understanding the comet was NNE, once again I headed that way. The night sky put on the best display I have ever seen. A crystal clear sky, the comet in all it’s glory and then emerging slowly from the horizon, perhaps one of the best displays of Noctilucent cloud I have ever seen.
Truthfully, a breathtaking night. The cloud was so clear, so bright, so detailed in the sky. I thought I would risk a timelapse, it worked out better than I could have imagined.
Knowing it would be impossible to top this, I headed off to a few locations throughout the park, to take a few more photographs of the comet. Over the course of the following few days when the skies were not clear, I set about the task of planning and shooting the comet from our cottage garden.
Finally the garden
This photograph is far from perfect. It has a telegraph wire through the middle of it, but that’s not really the point is it. The point is this was from my garden, a comet! Neowise truly has reinvigorated my love of the dark skies. Expect a barrage of dark skies and night time photography over the coming months.
Neowise is rapidly heading away from earth. I don’t expect to see it again, especially as it is now dimming in brightness. Surviving perihelion was it’s greatest achievment! I took the greatest pleasure showing a number of friends from our village the comet yesterday evening. Indeed, it gave me as much pleasure hearing the “ooohs” and “ahhhs” when it finally broke through the light Western skies. As it did the first night I observed Neowise in the Epynt.
The takeaway for me is: whereever possible share your experience of the night sky and Brecon Beacons dark skies.