Comet Lovejoy near the Pleiades – 16th and 17th of January, 2015

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For this last weekend I had a great plan: two trips to Cota 1000 (Sinaia) for catching comet Lovejoy near the Pleiades star cluster.

The equipment that myself and my wife had with us was quite enough for catching either the comet and M45 (the Pleiades) or the very-long tail of the comet. Despite our best hopes, the transparency at an elevation of 1000 meters was quite poor (3-4/5) with the Milky Way visible only around 2/3 of the entire length above the horizon, and the comet’s coma almost at the limit of naked-eye visibility.

For now, only some of the images are processed, with the ones with better tail detail still in the processing stage.

The more artistic shots are a two-man’s job, with my wife acquiring the images and myself processing them.

Her equipment: Canon 550D at ISO1600 and Canon 100mm Lens at F/3.5. Only 15x180s frames were stacked, out of 23-24 for each night.

The first one, from the night of Jan 16-17:

Comet Lovejoy and the PleiadesAnd the one from the night of Jan 17-18:

Comet Lovejoy and M45And since the atmospheric conditions and equipment were basically the same over the two nights, I’ve “glued” together both of the above images into a single one frame, showing both the change of the comet’s nucleus position and that of the comet’s tail shape:

Comet Q2 16 and 17Unfortunately we had to go back home the third day. Otherwise we could have got a third position of the comet, much closer to the Pleiades.

On the road back we had the pleasure to see a very bright sundog:

parhelie 2 parhelie 1I will continue the work on the other comet images, and soon they will be posted here.


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