Category Archives: Comets

Comet Leonard (C/2021 A1)

C/2021 A1 (Leonard) on Nov 29, 2021. 22×180 sec, Gain 11, Offset 50, QHY183c at -20C, UHC-S filter, Astro-Tech AT60ED at F/4.8.
C/2021 A1 (Leonard) on Nov 29, 2021. 37×180 sec, Gain 11, Offset 50, QHY183c at -20C, UHC-S filter, Astro-Tech AT60ED at F/4.8.

Comet Leonard is getting bigger and brighter.   First clear weather since the lunar eclipse allowed me to get some new data on this guy.

I made a quick comparison image to show the size of the comet compared to the moon (simulated):

Comet Leonard and The Moon Size Comparison

The Lunar Eclipse of Nov 19, 2021

The Lunar Eclipse, Nov 19, 2021. 2 sec, QHY183c, Gain 18, Offset 50, UHC-S filter, Astro-Tech AT60D.
The Lunar Eclipse, Nov 19, 2021. 2 sec, QHY183c, Gain 18, Offset 50, UHC-S filter, Astro-Tech AT60D.

The lunar eclipse of Nov 19, 2019 was pretty good, considering it was only partial.   I started imaging at 1:00 and didn’t stop until dawn.    The two best images are above.  The sequence below is exactly how they came out live in the field, so to speak.


BONUS:

Two comets, C/2021 A1 and 67P,  just a quick look to see their progress from the last time.  67P appears to have faded a little and C/2021 A1 has gotten brighter.

Imaging Session on Nov 13/14, 2021

The Moon on Nov 13, 2021. QHY183c, AT60ED at F/4.8.
The Pleiades. 35×180 sec, Gain 11, Offset 50, QHY183c at -20C, UHC-S filter, Astro-Tech AT60ED at F/4.8.
The Andromeda Galaxy. 50×180 sec, Gain 11, Offset 50, QHY183c at -20C, UHC-S filter, Astro-Tech AT60ED at F/4.8.
Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Star Streaks Version. 40×180 sec (comet, 20×180 sec background), Gain 11, Offset 50, QHY183c at -20C, UHC-S filter, Astro-Tech AT60ED at F/4.8.
Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Star Freeze Version. 40×180 sec (comet, 20×180 sec background), Gain 11, Offset 50, QHY183c at -20C, UHC-S filter, Astro-Tech AT60ED at F/4.8.
C/2021-A1 (Leonard). 24×180 sec, Gain 11, Offset 50, QHY183c at -20C, UHC-S filter, Astro-Tech AT60ED at F/4.8.
C/2021-A1 (Leonard). 24×180 sec, Gain 11, Offset 50, QHY183c at -20C, UHC-S filter, Astro-Tech AT60ED at F/4.8. Star Freeze version.

Great weather and very transparent skies for this session.  I started out with the goal of getting two comets, but since they didn’t get into position until later, I started off with the Moon, then M45 and M31.  I also shot Pickering’s Triangle, part of the Veil Nebula complex, but didn’t get enough subs to do it any justice.

The comets were small, but interesting with long tails instead of being just puff balls.    67P has a really long tail in images taken by others.  I was glad to get as much as I got shooting from the middle of town with all the LP.

Comet Erasmus (C/2020 S3) on Nov 22, 2020

Comet Erasmus (C/2020 S3) on Nov 22, 2020, 4:50 AM to 5:40 AM. 50×60 sec sub-images captured in SharpCap 3.2, QHY183c at -20C cooling, Gain 20, Offset 200, Optolong L-eNhance filter, Televue TV-85 at F/5.6, dark, flat, bias calibration, Metro area, Bortle 7-8 zone, clear and average transparency, seeing was poor for comet elevation (under 12 degrees.)  Star-Freeze version.

Comet Erasmus (C/2020 S3) on Nov 22, 2020, 4:50 AM to 5:40 AM. 50×60 sec sub-images captured in SharpCap 3.2, QHY183c at -20C cooling, Gain 20, Offset 200, Optolong L-eNhance filter, Televue TV-85 at F/5.6, dark, flat, bias calibration, Metro area, Bortle 7-8 zone, clear and average transparency, seeing was poor for comet elevation (under 12 degrees.)

New comet discovered in September, 2020 in the morning sky at twilight.  Very low and very hard to image from the metro area I’m in.  I used an Optolong L-eNhance filter, which helped beat back the terrible LP I had to image through when it was less than 12 degrees above the horizon.

 

Comet Close Approach – ATLAS (C/2020 M3 (ATLAS))

C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) on Nov 13, 2020 or 1 day before closest approach. 27×60 sec subs stacked and blended into a background o 30 minutes with 30 sec sub-images.

A very dark sky would have made quite a difference for this comet, but to me it is almost too small to be worthy of a trip to the boonies just for this guy.    A runt comet.  lol

This was taken from a Bortle 7-8 zone in a Metro area  with the Optolong L-eNhance filter, my QHY183c camera and Televue TV-85 telescope.

It was moving very fast and exposures of two minutes showed slight trailing.   I made a star-streaks version with some 3×5 minute simulated exposures and 4×3 minute simulated exposures.   The actual sub-images were 30 seconds and SharpCap was used to LiveStack the simulated exposures.   Here it is below:

C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) on Nov 13, 2020. 3x5min and 4x3min simulated exposures.

This was taken before the 1st image, so you can see how far that sucker moved in the intervening time.

Comet NEOWISE on July 25, 2020

Comet Neowise on Jul 25, 2020. 47×4 sec @ ISO 1600, Canon T3, IDAS-LPS, Sigma Zoom 28-70 at 70mm, F/4, tripod mounted.

The evening of Jul 25, 2020 was supposed to be clouded out.  It was at first, but for a short time, a sucker hole opened and I was able to get a batch of sub-images of Comet NEOWISE.  The total was 57×4 sec shots, but only 47 of those would stack correctly, so a little over 3 minutes of exposure.  Too bad it wasn’t totally clear.   Oh well, it is what it is.

I guess I am lucky to even get images. July is the worst month for an evening comet here along the Gulf coast. We have thunderstorms galore in the afternoons and left-overs of them for hours afterwards and into the evenings.

I did do another rendition of the 47×4 sec data set. This time I aligned on the comet when stacking and it helped it come out better than before. Surprising how much it moved in the short exposure run vs the background stars, which you can see by how long the stars are elongated in this version and the comet is not:

Comet Neowise on Jul 25, 2020. 47×4 sec @ ISO 1600, Canon T3, IDAS-LPS, Sigma Zoom 28-70 at 70mm, F/4, tripod mounted.

Comet NEOWISE in the Evening Skies

Comet Neowise in the Clouds, Jul 23, 2020. Canon T3 camera on a tripod, IDAS-LPS and 18×4 sec @ ISO 1600 sub-images, Sigma 28-70 Zoom at 70mm, F/4.

Comet Neowise in between clouds, Jul 23, 2020. It was probably the best night weather wise since Comet Neowise moved to the evening skies, but still too cloudy to bring out my bigger scope.   I used a Canon T3 on a tripod with a Sigma 28-70 Zoom for this session.

The top image is stacked with more adaptive noise reduction/rejection and the bottom was a straight additive stack to max out the dimmest parts.  All subs were dark and offset calibrated.

Comet Neowise in the Clouds, Jul 23, 2020. Canon T3 camera on a tripod, IDAS-LPS and 18×4 sec @ ISO 1600 sub-images, Sigma 28-70 Zoom at 70mm, F/4.

Not too bad for being in a Bortle 7 Red Zone and using only an IDAS-LPS filter.  But, I need to get to a dark sky location (and some better weather) before this thing passes me by!  LoL!   Soon, hopefully.

Comet NEOWISE in the Morning Sky

Comet NEOWISE on July 9, 2020. 20 seconds of exposure using 8×2 sec and 1×4 sec sub-images. Canon T3 at ISO 400, Sigma 28-70 Zoom at 70mm, F/4. Camera on tripod. Taken from a metro location with Bortle 7 red zone light pollution levels.

Clear skies, but muggy and lots of muck to shoot through with it that low. It was the clearest morning so far since the comet became visible. That’s a dirt pile in the foreground, btw and not a mountain. LoL!

Below is an image that is a reprocess job on the data with a different color balance, slightly more sub-images and tighter cropping.   I also did dark and offset calibration to try and reduce noise.

I was hoping it would come out better than the first one, but since conditions were sub-par to begin with,  I guess I will just have to wait until it gets in the evening skies to get a better shot.  Oh, well…

Comet NEOWISE on July 9, 2020. 48 seconds of exposure using 14×2 sec and 5×4 sec sub-images. Canon T3 at ISO 400, Sigma 28-70 Zoom at 70mm, F/4. Camera on tripod. Taken from a metro location with Bortle 7 red zone light pollution levels.