I’m sure you’ve heard about NEOWISE, the comet that was discovered in March and is visible now for North Texans twice a night, right after sunset and right before sunrise. If you want to get a peek, I suggest you follow these easy steps that I took with my 14-year-old daughter this morning.
1. Argue with your daughter about whether the after-sunset or before-sunrise window is the best time to see the comet. Make the point that getting up at 4 a.m. to drive to the countryside and escape light pollution will be a real pain in the ass.
2. Lose the argument because your daughter has decided that staying up all night for the occasion sounds fun to her.
3. Consult the Stellarium website so you know where in the sky to look for the comet.
4. Have a horrible night’s sleep because your daughter decides to bake cookies in the middle of the night using a recipe that apparently discourages being quiet and takes about four hours to execute.
5. Rise at 4 a.m., and make coffee, and drive to a rural part of Sunnyvale on the southern shore of Lake Ray Hubbard so that your northeastern horizon line is as low as possible, with no trees obscuring your view, and then say to your daughter, “Enjoy looking at the clouds that I pointed out before we left the house and said would make seeing the comet impossible.”
6. Sit in the car parked on a country road and listen to crickets and doves while your daughter trespasses to get closer to the water’s edge so she can see the clouds.
7. After sunrise, drive home while reflecting on what your daughter said about halfway to the cloud viewing spot: “Don’t worry, guys. Even if we don’t see the comet, the adventure will be fun.”
8. Get donuts and jalapeño sausage rolls.