Comet Lovejoy – February 12, 2015

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After a rather long period with clouds, and Moon-illuminated skies, I’ve finally got another chance at imaging comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy together with Claudiu, from the darker skies of the Comana Woods.

Since my last observation, the comet has faded quite a bit, being still visible with the naked eye but just barely under Mag. +5.5 skies. The coma has decreased it’s size, and the tail is much less conspicuous both visually and photographically.

The good part is that the comet’s apparent movement among the stars also decreased, which makes now possible for longer exposures to be acquired, without the comet moving too much in relation with the stars; in this way one can shoot both comet and background stars and galaxies at the same time.

This is how the following image was done, using the 65mm TS APO65Q Refractor at F/6.5 and Canon 550D at ISO 3200 with an exposure time of 5 minutes for each of the 7 frames stacked. The setup was autoguided via the PHD software and a Meade DSI I camera and 50mm finderscope.

 Lovejoy Q2 Febr 12

And the grayscale and inverted versions of the above:


In the next two nights I will try and image the comet from a darker location, so perhaps better images are still to be published here…


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