I was able to tease out the image of the comet and here’s the result. I accidentally recorded this as JPG images instead of RAW, so I had to use a few more processing tricks to get it to look decent. I may try again soon, if it stays clear. Next time, I’m planning on making sure I’m set to RAW images on the camera first.
October 4, 2011
February 24, 2009
This image of Comet Lulin is a stack of 60 images taken from 11:56pm until 12:27am. The comet is now at its closest point to Earth, about 38 million miles, which is really not that far. It will probably start to fade a bit soon, so you should try to view it if you can. I was able to see it with binoculars in the southeastern sky around 9:30.
February 21, 2009
Comet Lulin, which was discovered by a Chinese teenager in 2007, was actually just barely visible to the naked eye last night once it was high in the sky. In binoculars it was like a cotton ball and through the scope I could see a hint of detail. This image is a 50 minute exposure, tracking on the comet. You can see how quickly it is moving against the background stars. While watching the computer stack the images, I could see the comet move a bit in every frame. I’m not sure whether I’ll have good weather in the next few days, but the Comet will (I believe) peak in brightness on Monday morning.
January 4, 2008
Rather than have the software track on a star like I normally do, I decided to have it track on the comet instead. Boy am I glad I did. I’ve seen these kinds of photos before, but never taken one. Comet 8P/Tuttle is moving so fast against the background of stars that in the 16 minutes it took to take this image (66 x 15s) you can see the background stars moving while the comet stays nice and center. Comet Holmes, which I’ve imaged innumerable times, really wouldn’t move in the time spans that I was taking images. It was clearly moving day to day, but it might only move twice as far as this in a day.
Anyway, I took a number of other images tonight, but I’m going to go outside and see if I can see any of the meteor shower and then go to bed. I’ll process tomorrow evening, if I have time.
Update: I went outside for about 15 minutes – that’s all I could take – and saw 4 meteors. The first was the best – it was bright blue streaking through Cassiopeia, then broke into several smaller fragments before disappearing. The others weren’t nearly as exciting (though one was green). Particularly since it’s 20°F out right now with a little bit of a breeze. I’m off to bed. Let me know if anyone stayed/got up to watch and saw anything exciting. Or maybe you shouldn’t – I’m not sure I want to know what I missed.
December 11, 2007
Alright – I was just pointed by a commenter on flickr (who commented on my simulation below) to a further article here which indicated that the “Comet” I saw was a rocket upper stage venting gas. It created a “fan shaped” cloud which is exactly what I saw. Several people on this thread also saw it. I’m not sure if anyone got an image yet, but if I find one, I’ll post a link. So it wasn’t a cloud after all…
November 20, 2007
Comet 17P/Holmes continues to develop more of a “proper” tail. I haven’t been able to view it the past 2 days and it’s quite different now. I also was able to try out my new focal reducer which allows me to take a wider field of view on my images. I didn’t have to stitch this together from multiple exposures, which is nice. The super bright star in this is Alpha Persei, also known as Mirfak, which is the brightest star in the constellation Perseus.
Also, I took these two images (again using the focal reducer) of M31 – The Andromeda Galaxy and M42 – The Great Orion Nebula.
November 13, 2007
Here’s tonight’s comet image. I really didn’t think I’d get a chance to get an image this evening, but what do you know? It cleared up. Still no rain, but hey I got my comet photo! I’ve started to have to take several images and stitch them together (in the astronomy world it’s called drizzling) using DeepSkyStacker. I’ve also composited all of my comet images into my panorama. The following is my panorama where I skip days where the comet overlaps the previous day or days.
This is the complete composite image:
Please click on these images to see the large versions. They not only give a good view of how the comet has been evolving, but also of its path across the stars of night sky. Incidentally, the bright star in the upper left of the image is Mirfak – the brightest star in the constellation Perseus.
November 10, 2007
This is tonight’s comet photo – you can see the tail developing behind the comet. If I’ve got some more time after my kids’ First Lego League meeting tonight, I’ll take some more images to get a broader view. It’s really getting hard to see with the naked eye because it’s getting so spread out, but is quite clear both in the scope and in binoculars.
November 7, 2007
Here’s tonight’s Comet 17P/Holmes image. It’s actually getting somewhat difficult to see with the naked eye – it’s brighter than Andromeda for sure, but because it’s diffusing, it’s getting more difficult to easily pick up visually. You can see in this image that the tail is fanning out to the upper left of the image and that soon I won’t be able to get the whole thing in one image.
The unfortunate event is that while setting up my telescope, I broke my mount. one of the screws used to tighten the legs cracked its plastic casing and so now that leg can’t hold position. Arrgh. I may be able to epoxy and lash it somehow to hold it together (if I do, I’ll do a post on it with pictures), but in the meantime, I have to lower the telescope as far as it goes and make sure that the short leg is on the uphill side of the telescope so I can get it level. I guess that’s what I get for using a Tasco. If anyone out there has an equatorial mount that they aren’t using that they’d like to donate, it would be greatly appreciated.
November 6, 2007
Here is the time lapse image I’ve been compositing. So far, I’ve only missed 2 days since I started. Each of these images has the background stars lined up with each other so you can see the comet’s path across the sky in these images. Click on the image and then click view all sizes to see the time lapse image at full resolution. Below is tonight’s image of Comet 17P/Holmes.
You can see that the top left is starting to spread out away from the comet like a more traditional tail and the bottom right is much more crisp. Boy is it cold tonight, but it’s also been beautiful out – I’m able to see andromeda without binoculars.