Category : Comets

Comet Lulin 2009 Images

Around 9.30pm last night it actually cleared, so I headed outside after a cup of tea. Looking for the Comet using binoculars with Stellarium the previous night helped greatly, as I now knew the vicinity of Comet Lulin.

Comet Lulin was already in the Autostar Handset database, and I had made sure that I update the catalogs during the day time via the LX200 RS232 port and my laptop. The only problem I had was that after aligning the LX200 and then doing a GoTo to Comet Lulin, it was not in the eyepiece.

This meant just scanning the sky for Lulin, I found it best by using the attached LX200 8×50 viewfinder very useful for this. I then began by Syncing the Comet, but I found this did no good as the telescope did not track Lulin.

I started attaching my 300mm Canon lens to my camera and then attaching the camera to the top of the LX200, commonly known as ‘Piggybacking’. I then used the full 300mm and tried various bulb timings, my images below are what I actually got.

Comet Lulin March 2009

I did then try taking images by attaching the camera directly to the LX200, ‘prime focus’. I also tried my new Meade Off Axis Guider, but found that what I saw through the camera viewfinder was not what I actually saw through the eyepiece on the top of the guider, strange!

I did try taking some photos of Lulin using this method, but the images were very blurry, as the comet was moving pretty fast.

Comet Lulin March 2009

Comet Holmes 17P Update

I have not been out for a couple of weeks, it seems the colder weather has put me off and I have been very busy in the evenings as well. But I managed to get outside for a couple of hours the other night after wrapping up warm. I went looking for Comet Tuttle but could not really see it or Autostar was pointing me in the wrong direction.

Anyway, I managed to have a re-visit to Comet Holmes, to see what has happened since I last looked at it about 14 days ago here. It appears that the outer dense ring has decreased or should I say thinned out.

This image was taken by my telescope mounted Canon 300mm lens.

Comet Holmes Update 15th November 2007

Comet Holmes 17P

I was glad to go out last night on Halloween and see clear skies as I was after having a look at the Holmes Comet after it had managed to get so much news coverage and at the same time come away with some images of the comet which is currently in the Perseus Constellation.

The Holmes comet can be clearly seen with the naked eye in the north and it makes a good sight in a good pair of binoculars, even low powered telescopes will get a good view. Apparently the explosion of Holmes was so big that the comet brightened by a factor of a million.

Holmes is currently moving away from the Sun, and is almost midway between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. When I looked through my LX200 10″ you could clearly make out a circular cloud of gas and dust emanating from the nucleus of the comet, together with a brighter cloud of material.

These images were not taken using a telescope but with my trusty Canon 400D SLR with a 300mm lens with the camera on top of my telescope, most images were at f/5.6 on ISO400 with exposures of around 30 seconds.

Comet Holmes 17P

This second image of Comet Holmes below is a magnified image.

Comet Holmes 17P Zoom Image

It is not clear what caused the comet to shed its skin, since it is moving away from the Sun’s energetic influence. One possibility is that the comet was hit by a meteoroid, or perhaps there has been a build-up of gas under part of the surface that catastrophically ruptured the surface.

Comet Holmes is a regular visitor to the inner Solar System. It takes 6.9 years to orbit the Sun once. It made its closest approach to our star last May, passing by at some 300 million km (190 million miles).

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