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Posts tagged “Comet

Comet Ahoy!

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I feel a little stupid.   It turns out that I did manage to capture Comet Pan Starrs after all.   After going back and studying a few of the frames I took near the end of last weeks Tuesday night vigil, I saw something.   On any of the exposures 1 second in length or longer, there it was!   I never saw it with the naked eye, but my Sigmas 72mm diameter (approx.)  200mm focal length lens apparently captured enough light for success.   It’s a good thing I wasn’t chewing gum a few minutes ago when I discovered this fact, I might have swallowed it.   Oh yeah, that’s the comet there in the upper left.  See it?  Better late than never I guess.

I got about 3 or 4 frames with the comet and my planned moon/windmill combo, but the composition is off, the comet is very weak, and they just don’t look good.  The image above looks much better, it was one of the last I took while walking back to the car, not even knowing the comet was in there.   Crazy times we live in.

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In Search Of Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS)

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I had a plan last night.   I had my location selected, with an interesting foreground object (windmill).   The previsualized shot would be windmill silhouette,  comet Pan Starrs, and the almost new 1%-2% illuminated sliver of the moon, hanging there like a cosmic smiley face.    It would have been glorious!  Alas, although the moon became visible as expected, where expected, the comet did not.   I was unable to see it, even with my small binoculars.   I had noticed a high thin layer of hazy clouds as the light dimmed, I suspect those were the reason the comet was not visible.   Even though the sky looks clear in these photos, I could see through the binoculars there was a high haze.  I should also note that in my original camera position, the trees you see here were not obscuring my view.

As I was walking back to my car, I noticed a fair amount of earthshine becoming visible on the moon, so grabbed a couple of moody shots of that.  (Earthshine is sunlight reflected from the earth back to the night side of the moon. )   It was fun to be out shooting, even if the comet was a no show.   Online this morning, I’ve seen several images similar to the one I envisioned, not everyone struck out last night.

 

Here’s a second moody moonset-with-earthshine image:

 

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And finally, here’s a photo taken shortly after the first image posted.    I cropped it tighter to show you….what is that streak near the moon?   Could it be….is that the comet?!

 

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No, sorry, its just the contrail of a high flying jet aircraft.   I thought about trying to pass it off as the comet but figured the astrophotography police would bust me for it right away.  I’m thinking of trying for a comet shot again tonight or at least sometime this week.   The windmill will still be there.