The month of April 2017 is turning out to be really good for comets. So far, 4 photogenic comets are all vying for my attention. On the morning of April 8th, 2017, I got a chance to capture images of Comet PANSTARRS (C/2015 ER61) for the first time. It was a short imaging session due to moonlight interference and the comet rising only high enough to image shortly before sunrise.
Too bad it was short, since I also wanted images of Comet Lovejoy. It was just north of Comet PANSTARRS and I visually spotted it in 15×70’s binoculars. But, by the time the sky and comets got right and the exposures looked good, it was already 5:17 AM. Astronomical twilight was starting at about 5:30 AM. So, most of my shots ended up having either moonlight interference or twilight interference. Doh! 🙂
I could only get so much out of the two stacks I ended up with. At least it was something. I also tried out some new stuff and that was a plus. An update to my planetarium pointing software allowed me to tell PHD2 Guiding to move the mount with the comet instead of the stars. It worked somewhat. At some points the tracking was only so-so and I had to throw out a couple of subs But, I needed to try it to find that out.