I was able to catch 4 comets on the night of Feb 25/26th, 2017. Comet Johnson was the last one of the night and I got some good data on it this time.
I have processed the data like usual and included both a star freeze and star streaks version. I cropped these close at 100% full size.
The full frame is below:
Update Feb 27, 2017:
I actually made a mistake on processing these and the exposure time involved. There are only two (2) sub-images that were shot for 3 minutes at ISO 3200 (the first two) and the remaining sixteen were all 5 minute subs at ISO 1600. Doh! 😮
Update Feb 28, 2017:
I had processed them with the 180 sec, ISO 3200 darks and offsets and it still came out. I wrongly stated to myself (and this blog) that I would not reprocess them with the right calibration data, since it looked good enough. However, I’m glad I changed my mind:
This was much cleaner in the reprocess. I have two layers here. One is the comet and one is the star background. I didn’t have to slice and dice 10 different processing attempts and put together an image. I only used the minimum needed. Nothing from the first processing job was used.
Because of weather, I missed out on imaging Comet 45P when it was near a famous galaxy pair recently. I finally got to image it from a relatively dark sky location on Feb 26, 2017. There were no “famous” galaxies in the vicinity this night, but there were sure lots of faint fuzzies in the image to make it interesting.
The star freeze version above came out OK. Not too bad. I also did a star-streaks version and I’ve included that below.
Keen observers will note that there is an asteroid in the tail of Comet 45P. It can be seen in both versions. I’m pretty sure that is 5081 Sanguin (1976 WC1).
At about 11:00 PM CST on Saturday night, Feb 25th, I decided that I’d hit Comet 41P again. This time with a longer session, more exposure and a higher ISO. These images are the results of that endeavor.
It was a beautiful evening and I just had to shoot the Pleiades (M45) from my new dark sky site. They just looked too good from there.
I wanted see how much I could pick up with the unmodified Canon T3. It is definitely a camera that is sensitive to blues and cyan. It does comets and galaxies well enough. It is not as good as a modified camera on nebulae, unless its a reflection nebula like M45.
This is about 2.58 hours of integration – about the minimum needed to bring out that faint background nebulousity I’ve always tried to get. It is difficult to decern the true background if there are any gradients, unfortunately. There were a some here and I tried my best to minimize them. Towards the end of the set, M45 moved into the muck and a little LP from a small neighborhood to my northwest. Plus, the zodiacal light was contributing a gradient, too. It was interesting to see that, though. 🙂
Below is the normal orientation for M45 with some noise reduction thrown in. I didn’t do any to the first image. That was pretty much how it came out after stacking.
I managed to get off 2 shots on Encke before it sank too low to shoot. One shot was 5 minutes @ ISO 1600 and the other was 5 minutes @ ISO 800. I added the two together and it came out like you see it above. Not great, but you can see where it stands.
A different comet is out and about now. Periodic comet 41P is coming back around and is conveniently placed in Leo and so is up most of the night. I shot it from a darker sky location and it turned out OK, I guess. It was a little dimmer than I expected.
I was pressed for time this session, so I went with 2 minute ISO 1600 exposures to match the darks I had already taken for another object. It really needed a little longer exposure and more ISO. Next time, I’ll hit it with 3 minutes and ISO 3200, which I hope will be in two days after this was posted.
They say this comet will get better during March, so I’ll probably be shooting it again soon.
Man, dark skies are the best! I have a better image here with just 6 subs than with my last attempt I did using 56 sub-images taken from the middle of a metro area. You just can’t beat a good dark place when it comes to astrophotography.
M79 is one of those globulars that sometimes gets glossed over for all the goodies in Orion, which is right above Lepus. I can’t remember shooting it in the past, but I may have something on it that I just don’t quite know where or when.
I found it. 10 years ago in Januarly of 2007 I shot it with an 8 inch, F/4 Schmidt-Newtonian. Here’s the combined data from that with this shot:
This is a 100% crop of the central area of the frame. It lies in a field that is full of faint fuzzies, including NGC 1886, which is like a miniature version of famous edge-on galaxies NGC 4565 or NGC 891. It got cropped out in this view, unfortunately.
This is probably my last Comet Encke shot for this go-around. It is so close to the horizon at the end of astronomical twilight that it is hard to get any good data. Only if the horizon is exceptionally clear from this point forward will I attempt to shoot it again.
It still shows a nice tail, despite being in the muck at the horizon. The negative insert shows the tail the best, but it is also somewhat visible even in the positive image.
I had guiding issues for this shot, so I was not expecting much of an image from the data. But, it still came out OK despite that.
Images of Comets, Nebulae, Galaxies and Star Clusters