This will only appeal to those of you who are following the astronomy aspects of this site – but I just had to share that after a lot of persistence, trial and error, I finally (and unmistakably) found Comet 41P/T-G-K. It’s even showing up green, as it’s supposed to, due to ionized carbon gas.
This is actually a fairly short exposure, a stack of 20 frames at 10 seconds each, taken tonight (April 4) in an area of pretty significant light pollution. The trick was then letting the computer to do some automatic color correction, and then… voila! It jumps right out, in the lower-right third of the frame. Bright star at top is Alpha Draconis.
So obviously I’m still learning – finding it really hard to get the right combination of magnification, shutter speed (even 10 seconds blurs when I’m in too close). And telling how well I’m focused through just a (big, but still) Nikon zoom lens with so little light is really hard… but learning is part of the fun.
There are reasons (like the comet is still Mag 8.5 instead of predicted 6, and the Moon is now bright to boot), but this was HARD, people! I feel very satisfied though, even though this comet isn’t much more than a fuzzball. =)
Get Out There!
8 thoughts on “I Found 41P!!”
I’ve been following, congrats. Consider me an astronomer wannabe w too many excuses: too cold, too sleepy, too many trees, and yes too hard!
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Thanks Larry, I’m definitely an evening astronomer and not a morning one. 🙂 And often too much going on to be either – but this became a white whale of sorts and I couldn’t let go!
Nicely done! Just curious, and forgive the stupid question but are you just holding your camera up close to the telescope lens or do you have some other setup? I’ve gotten some good shots of the moon that way but never tried anything since then.
Nope, this is all camera, and that’s part of the struggle and experimentation. My wife has a nice zoom that’ll get me close enough that the moon is about a quarter frame – problem is that when I do that on a darker sky, I can’t actually see anything through the camera, and so focus and exposures are a bit of a guess. I tried Orion Nebula last night too, and was all excited to see that I captured the red color. .. but got back to a computer and found everything was out of focus AND streaked by movement in only 10 seconds. .. So the comet was caught by camera on a tripod, fairly wide field (area between Dippers), stacked with Deep Sky Stacker, and then zoomed in a tad after the fact. I didn’t ever see the comet except through the photo.
Oh, also was playing with night mode on a GoPro, the whole sky in wide angle, and could STILL find it. .. but resolution much better with just a little zoom.
Awesome thanks for the info…I’ll have to try that sometime with my new big boy camera lol.