August 20th was probably the last time I was able to shoot Comet Panstarrs before it fades below 7th magnitude. I took all my gear to a spot where the comet was not blocked by trees, like at home. Unfortunately, the LP was bad and transparency was not up to par for this night. I had to shoot with only 1 minute sub-images to get around that. I was also shooting right into a huge light dome from Lafayette, LA to my northeast. I thought I would have had better conditions, but unfortunately they were marginal, at best.
I woke up at 3:45 AM to go out and image Comet Panstarrs on Friday, April 12, 2013. I should have got up at 3:00 AM instead. I didn’t think I would have problems in the field and I cut it way too close to the start of twilight.
What held me up is my mount wasn’t tracking at all at first and I had to haggle with it quite a bit before I could shoot some images. By that time, it was already 5:30 AM and the start of astronomical twilight was upon me. Not quite sure what went wrong.
I shot this with my Canon 200mm telephoto at F/2.8. Its only about 7 minutes worth of integration. I was hoping for 3 times that amount. Oh, well…
Ok, I managed to get a shot of Comet Panstarrs despite the moon and lingering twilight. At least you see the comet. Somewhat. lol
It was a little difficult to shoot images and entertain visitors simultaneously. Its a long story, but suffice it to say that by the time I was finally shooting images, the comet was already deep in the muck. In fact, it was there by the time it got dark enough to shoot long exposures.
I struck out trying to image Comet Panstarrs on Sunday evening, March 24, 2013. It was just too short of a time to find it in bright twilight, bright moonlight and with its low altitude. However, I tried something to redeem myself while I still had the equipment setup. I shot the Pleiades with a bunch of 15 second unguided exposures. I managed to catch them and Comet C/2012 L2 (Linear) in the shot. This is cropped down quite a bit to just the cluster and comet.
By the way, the comet is in the lower right. Its that small greenish smudge. 🙂
It was predicted to be clear on March 20, 2013 when I took the above picture. However, a low bank of clouds moved in at the last moment and messed up my plans to shoot Comet Pan-STARRS with the Canon 200mm F/2.8 telephoto lens for a wide-angle view. The mount wasn’t tracking very well, either and I wasted quite a few shots because of that issue. So, the only good image of the comet came through a crack in the clouds.