Halley's Comet!

1985 & 1986


After a long search, I recently (7/28/05) found some of my most prized astrophotographs.  These pictures, along with a few others, are all that remains of the dozens of images that I took of Halley's Comet back in 1986.   I lost the majority of them when I entrusted them to a relative and they were inadvertently thrown away. 

I would have to say that Halley's Comet was the most influential thing that got me into amateur astronomy in the first place.  I had dreamed of seeing it since I was a kid.  For several years before it's arrival, I geared up for it.  I got a good scope, cameras, lens, etc.  When it arrived, I was ready.  I was one of the first few observers in the world to visually see it when it returned.   I submitted my observations and received a certificate because of my achievement.   

My pictures were used in my local hometown's newspaper and on local TV.  I was interviewed a few times and submitted homemade finder charts and predictions for the local media to publish to help others to see this once in a lifetime event.  

Its hard to believe that this was almost 20 years ago.  The prints I have show their age and are not in good condition.  There are a few blemishes and scratches on them.  Now, thanks to computers and the internet, they will be preserved for others to see and marvel at.

Update 9/9/2005:  Located some slide duplicates of Halley's Comet taken with decent quality COLOR film!   Thought I had lost these, too.  I played them on my old slide projector and copied them by taking a picture of the screen with my Canon Digital Rebel.  Click here to see them.



My first visual sighting of Halley's Comet, September 19, 1985.   Now over 20 years ago.  Wow, how time flies!  It was just a dim fuzz ball in a high power eyepiece, but I was thrilled to finally see the legendary comet.  I drew these sketches while at the eyepiece of my telescope.  I submitted my observations and drawings to the International Halley Watch.  For the first 1000 people to submit observations, they gave a certificate.  I was one of those first 1000!


The Great Halley's Comet!  Picture taken in  March, 1986.  Camera was a Nikon 35mm SLR with a 300mm, F/4.5 lens.  Film was Hypered Tech Pan 2415 Black & White film (about 400 to 800 ISO equivalent) and an 8 minute exposure.  Original 8x10 print scanned on a flatbed scanner and cropped.   Click the picture to enlarge.  


Close-up of the head of Halley's Comet from the above picture.  Moving your mouse over the image will display a negative view.  Click on the image to see a full size positive enlargement.


Halley's Comet, 1986.  Color photo using Konica 1600 ISO.  This film was the fastest speed film at the time, but it was so grainy!  It was appalling by today's standards. I tried to minimize the grain in Paint Shop Pro, but it just made it look blurry.  Moving your mouse over the image will display a negative view.


A  one minute exposure of Halley's Comet taken with a 50mm lens.   That's my head in the right of the frame.  This picture was taken the same night as the first picture on this page.  The view is facing east when Comet Halley was an early morning object. I had the camera mounted on the telescope to track the stars.  The glow is from the city of Kaplan, La.


Update: Halley's Comet Slide Duplicates


  Halley's Comet in early March, 1986.   300mm F/4 telephoto, 400 ISO Hypered Fujichrome slide film developed as a negative and about an 8 minute exposure.  Some of these slides were made by photographing the negative with a slide copier.  I developed all this stuff myself back then.  I even Hypered my own film!   The only way to handle it was do it yourself, because the photoshops had no clue as to what was going on.  


  Halley's Comet during the Texas Star Party, May, 1986.   C-8 telescope with F/5.8 focal reducer, Hypered Fujichrome 400 developed as a negative and a 12 minute exposure.


  Halley's Comet in early March, 1986.  300mm F/4 lens, Nikon FE2,  Kodachrome 200 slide film, pushed to 400  during development. 


  Another Texas Star Party '86 photo of Halley's Comet.   C-8 telescope with F/5.8 focal reducer, Hypered Fujichrome 400 developed as a negative and a 15 minute exposure.

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This page was last updated on 9/21/2005