Another good night for comet imaging on the outskirts of Comana Woods.

This time, besides Claudiu, two other amateur astronomers were shooting the skies with me, Vlad and …Vlad, so comet Lovejoy had a lot of attention this night.

My imaging setup was different compared to the previous night, meaning that the main instrument was this time the TS 115mm F/7 APO with field flattener. I did encounter a few problems with the equatorial mount, which postponed the start of the imaging session for about half an hour, but eventually I got it working and shot the comet in 22 frames, each an exposure of 100 to 120 seconds at ISO3200 with the Canon 550D.

The best part of the night was the tail of the comet, with a large condensation separating from the head during our imaging session.

I will start for now with the color version of the image, still not a final image, but for the time being it will have to do.

Q2 color MaxAnd the black-and-white version of the above, showing a bit better the inner section of the tail, together with an inset made by applying the Larson-Sekanina algorithm to the original unprocessed image to show some of the inner jets of the comet.

q2 BW DerotThe “mass ejection” in the comet’s tail had an apparently rapid movement relative to the comet’s head, which is visible in the animation below (wait for the animation to fully load):

anim q2 b

The images were acquired between 18:07 and 18:52 U.T., so the animation shows the evolution of the tail for about 45 minutes.

Hope to see this dynamic comet again soon, despite a not so good weather forecast for the following days. Nevertheless I will use the cloudy nights to re-process some of the above images, hopefully getting better results.


UPDATE (January 10, 2015):

As I was saying, I’ve re-worked some of the images, this time with the stars and some deep-sky objects visible also. For the following images only 12 of the original 24 frames were stacked.

Picture saved with settings embedded.

Picture saved with settings embedded.

3 Replies to “Comet Lovejoy – January 8, 2015”

  1. Amazing shots. The “ejection event” made things even more interesting (as if were not enough). Totally worth the freezing cold 🙂 All I can wish you is good weather conditions for further successful observations.

  2. Well, the event was not actually an “ejection event” but rather the effect of the interaction of the solar wind with the ion tail of the comet. This is something that I’ve learned a bit after I wrote the post above. Still, an interesting event that we both should remember since it’s not every day that you can observe a dynamic comet, especially a bright one. Let’s hope the good weather will come soon…

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