Category Archives: Comet

Haw Wood star party

The skies didn’t clear until 4am on Sunday during the weekend of the Breckland autumn star party at Haw Wood Farm. By then the winter constellations were rising and this posts subject makes an early appearance this year.

I’d gone equipped with the Astrotrac and Canon 75-300mm zoom lens. Using this with the QHY9 camera requires a Geoptik adapter between the two. As the focus adjustment on this lens is so sensitive I’d previously purchased a set of fine focus rings that clamp to the lens and provide a fine adjustment as well as locking the focus once achieved.

Before the sky got too light I acquired 11x 5 minute frames of the belt region of Orion along with some dawn sky flats. Processed in Pixinsight.

Orion_MT

Cosmic encounter

Comet Panstarrs has not put on the display that was hoped for earlier in the year but it has given a photo opportunity as it makes a close pass of the Andromeda galaxy on it’s way out of the Solar System. There’s no risk of collision here, the comet is in our Solar System and the galaxy is 2.5 million light years away.

Final

The images were acquired using a Canon 350D with a 75-300mm zoom lens at f/4.5. Eleven 2 minute exposures were stacked in Maxim, had the light pollution gradients removed in PixInsight and final processing carried out in Photoshop.

Comet C/2011 L4 Panstarrs

Tonight was unexpectedly clear when I got home from work so I picked up the Canon, 18-55mm lens and tripod and headed for the end of the lane.

One patch of stubborn cloud remained anchored over the comets position for what seemed like ages, but eventually the sky was dark enough and the cloud permitted a view.

Panstarrs

Single 10 second exposure at 55mm, f/5.6, ISO 200

Comet Garradd and M71

C2009/P1 made it’s closest approach to M71, a globular cluster in Sagitta on Friday night. While the weather people were predicting a gap in the cloud for mid evening, the gap turned out to be only 5 minutes in length!

Checking the star charts for the following evening showed the comet still fairly close and within the frame for the 70mm ZenithStar and Canon combination. The weather didn’t start too promising but cleared late evening for long enough to get five pictures before it clouded over again.

The comet core has trailed in this stack as I didn’t have enough images to process the comet and background stars separately and then recombine them. The two bright orange stars in the frame corners are Gamma and Delta Sagittae which make it really easy to find the cluster.

Image comprised of 5 90 second exposures at ISO 800

ZenithStar 70 with WO Field flattener III

Comet

Saturday was clear and the forecast for the evening was good so I started looking at Cartes Du Ciel for possible targets for the 20″. Low in the East is generally best for this system and fitting the bill perfectly was a comet, C2009/P1 (Garradd). Brightness was shown as mag 8.8 which is fairly bright as well.

The plan was to take multiple LRGB sequences with the Atik 383, each exposure being 60 seconds. Then stack on the comet and remove the stars from the image, stack on the stars and remove the comet and finally combine the images. Due to the comet’s motion across the sky, this complex procedure is required to avoid trailing of either the comet or stars.

There were some problems with the altitude drive which resulted in a fair few frames being rejected but, after a couple of runs through Photoshop trying different techniques, here is the result.