Here is Comet Johnson again from a relatively dark site. I did not devote much time to it since it was not my primary target this night. It is only a little over an hour of integration. Perhaps it was a little too warm to use 5 minutes/ISO 1600 for exposures, at least with this low number of sub-images. But, I didn’t want to have to shoot two sets of darks, so I stuck with one exposure length all night long.
I was testing the rig on this as the first thing after getting all my gear setup. It was only 5 sub-images. I stopped when Comet Johnson got high enough to shoot.
The full size, full res original is fun to poke through since there are many faint fuzzies in this area, which makes it interesting. I also have a cropped version below:
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.
While waiting for another comet to rise high enough to start shooting, I took a few shots of Comet Johnson even though the moonlight was strong in that area and I wasn’t expecting to get much. Surprisingly, the comet shows up with a slightly diminished tail, but the head and coma show well enough.
I did not spend much time on it and was not going to bother processing the data at first. The colors and dim areas suffered, but not enough so that it couldn’t be fixed somewhat. Lucky for me. 🙂
Terry Lovejoy’s newest comet is in outburst and has brightened quite a bit above what was expected of it. Now, it is a really nice comet in the dawn skies. Unfortunately, it is moving fast and quickly heading lower and lower to the horizon with each morning. So, the good viewing window is short and sweet.
I had to wait for it to clear a roof and it was already after 10:30 UT (5:30 am CDT,) so I had to shoot it between the start of astronomical twilight and nautical twilight. Plus, this is from a Bortle red/white zone, so I had lots of LP to contend with. Not the best conditions, but hey, at least I got a usable image.