#321  
Old 27-12-2011, 12:28 PM
mishku
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Finally, the clouds (slightly!) parted!!

I had planned a sojourn from the bright lights of Melbourne (who am I kidding? It was a sojourn from the dense clouds of Melbourne!) down to Torquay for the Christmas break. It all seemed right - mornings off to sleep in, relatively dark skies, and an east facing balcony from our hotel. Christmas morning? Thunder, and dense clouds! Melbourne had a tornado warning, but the wind didn't shift those recalcitrant clouds. Boxing day? Clouds so thick it didn't even warrant heading onto the balcony. This morning? Clear views of the southern cross and centaurus, but those pesky, horizon-hanging clouds... After a minute or two, it dawned on me that a single, vertical strip of cloud wasn't moving - it was Comet Lovejoy! Though there was cloud cover, it was still discernable by eye (though apparently, not by camera?). What a fabulous Christmas present!

Best bit was... having failed to notice my alarm going off at 3am every morning, my granny, who was staying with us told me that "someone told her there's something in the sky at the moment that doesn't happen very often!" Good spotting, Gran
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  #322  
Old 27-12-2011, 12:46 PM
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weather gods were with me this morning a nice clear sky and no wind , comet sure has changed since last time i saw it before christmas ,hard to pick the end , tried inverting to bring it out but not much improvement
canon 20D. 21mm. 35secs. tripod
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Last edited by southern 40; 27-12-2011 at 12:54 PM. Reason: camera details
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  #323  
Old 27-12-2011, 02:49 PM
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Nice shots
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  #324  
Old 27-12-2011, 03:06 PM
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The tail is about 31 degrees in southern 40's inverted shot.
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  #325  
Old 27-12-2011, 03:46 PM
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thks for the info Glen i was wondering how long the tail was
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  #326  
Old 27-12-2011, 04:16 PM
ath (Andrew)
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Hi Everyone,

My name's Andrew and I've been monitoring this thread intensely for almost a week now and am wrapped to be able to finally contribute to it.

After 5 consecutive days of setting out to see Comet Lovejoy without any success, I finally had some clear skies at my disposal last night. At first it didn't look promising, but I headed down to the Providence Ponds Flora/Fauna reserve (15kms out of Stratford, Vic) as I had done for the 4 nights previous and I was amazed to find that it cleared just at the right time! (about 3.00am-ish). For about 25 minutes she was a beautiful sight.

By 4.15am she was was no longer visible, kangaroos were stalking me and the mossies were eating me alive so I called it a night and began my long walk back home through the forest. It was totally worth it. Wish I had seen it when it was brighter, but I consider myself lucky to have seen her at all.

Thanks to everyone here for all the info, I wouldn't have been as determined/inspired to see it without something like this thread to point me in the right direction (literally ). Thanks heaps!! This site is a great resource.

Attached is my photographic efforts (the red line in the first pic is a helicopter that passed by during the exposure.

A bit of post processing was done in Lightroom, mostly to remove noise.

Cheers,

Andrew
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  #327  
Old 27-12-2011, 04:53 PM
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Nice shots, Andrew

Like the one with the chopper trail
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  #328  
Old 27-12-2011, 07:07 PM
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As per an earlier post, I pointed out the similarity to the Great Comets of 1880 amd 1887. It does seem to be following this trend with the tail extending but getting rapidly fainter. I see John Drummond photographed nearly 40 degrees of very faint tail this morning!

In the meantime I couldn't help but have a chuckle at the Solar System imaging forum! see attached image...
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  #329  
Old 27-12-2011, 07:40 PM
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  #330  
Old 27-12-2011, 08:09 PM
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Hi Colin,

when I compare your two consecutive wide shots I am convinced that the latest one shows the end of the tail overlaying the Milkyway background just above and to the right of Epsilon Centauri. As mentioned by Terry earlier, John Drummond took a picutre of just the end of the tail in order to better gauge where it ends. That was my main reason for asking if you had any close-up shots.

Southern 40's shots just stop at the point I am referring to, so that makes it a bit trickier to determine things.

I agree with Terry. It seems that these Kreutz family members can follow a set of possible scenarios or a variation of them. Some of the photos taken since the beginning of last week, and kindly displayed on this excellent forum, show this comet has many features seen in the most famous Kreutz members, like the shrouds around 1882 Sept., and the spiralling plumes travelling up the tail a la Ikeya-Seki.

The thing that I like a lot about observing Great Comets at their best is the tangible connection with our ancestors who, without the distractions of modern life, were more in awe of these itinerant visitors than many are today. That is not to say that modern people don't care. The impromptu crowds that gathered to witness McNaught, and who have also dragged themselves from a comfortable bed this time are testimony to that.

Cheers

Coops
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  #331  
Old 27-12-2011, 08:30 PM
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True Ian, but there are far many more who don't even look up and haven't a clue what lies above their heads. Some wouldn't even know whether a pigeon dropped a load on their heads!!!
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  #332  
Old 28-12-2011, 12:46 AM
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Had great views in dark skies this morning (27 Dec). Despite dimming off considerably since my last view on the 24th, the comet was much longer and still an inspiring sight! I could see about 33-deg of tail naked-eye, to about level with halfway between the top Pointer & the Cross. Shots showed very faint extension perhaps out to 38-deg or so. Images here:

Overall view, 4:00am (17:00, 26 Dec UT) - Canon 400D, 18mm, 3 x 2 min, ISO 1600, F/4.5:
http://i727.photobucket.com/albums/w...mfullredsm.jpg

Head of comet:
http://i727.photobucket.com/albums/w...headcompsm.jpg

First 10-deg of tail:
http://i727.photobucket.com/albums/w...textcompsm.jpg

18-deg section of tail:
http://i727.photobucket.com/albums/w...tailcompsm.jpg

Small section of tail at 200mm zoom, showing no structure:
http://i727.photobucket.com/albums/w...ailtextbsm.jpg
Compare with 200mm tail shot on 24 Dec (23 Dec UT):
http://i727.photobucket.com/albums/w...djtextsm-1.jpg

Cheers -
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  #333  
Old 28-12-2011, 12:54 AM
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Nice shots Rob

I was just looking at the close up of the head of the comet. I don't know if it's just my eyes or it's actually there, but it looks like the nucleus of the comet may have broken up into 5 or so "string of pearl" segments. You can see a very faint trail of dots aligned up behind one another right near the front of the head. Could just be an artifact of processing (or my eyes like I said ), but there maybe something there.

Really needs a bigger scope to check it out.
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  #334  
Old 28-12-2011, 01:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renormalised View Post
Nice shots Rob

I was just looking at the close up of the head of the comet. I don't know if it's just my eyes or it's actually there, but it looks like the nucleus of the comet may have broken up into 5 or so "string of pearl" segments. You can see a very faint trail of dots aligned up behind one another right near the front of the head. Could just be an artifact of processing (or my eyes like I said ), but there maybe something there.

Really needs a bigger scope to check it out.
Thanks Carl. Yes, I noticed those, and they appear in each of the three subs that were stacked to produce this. There was very slight comet movement between each sub (a couple of pixels). I was going to make a stack on the comet head but as you can see it's very difficult to pick a point (a difficulty which has apparently made precise astrometry a problem). So I stacked on the stars. If those dots were part of the comet they would have gone an obvious bean shape. They didn't so they must be a chance alignment of underlying field stars.

Cheers -
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Old 28-12-2011, 01:05 AM
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LOL, I was going to double-check with a DSS plate but never got around to it. Hey, it's Christmas!!

Cheers
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  #336  
Old 28-12-2011, 01:10 AM
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Just did a quick calculation based on some guesstimate figures....if the comet is, at present, roughly 0.5AU from us (say 45 million miles) and from your close up that "string" is 5' long seen from that distance, from the front to the back, the string of "objects" is 65,450 miles in length.
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  #337  
Old 28-12-2011, 01:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob_K View Post
Thanks Carl. Yes, I noticed those, and they appear in each of the three subs that were stacked to produce this. There was very slight comet movement between each sub (a couple of pixels). I was going to make a stack on the comet head but as you can see it's very difficult to pick a point (a difficulty which has apparently made precise astrometry a problem). So I stacked on the stars. If those dots were part of the comet they would have gone an obvious bean shape. They didn't so they must be a chance alignment of underlying field stars.

Cheers -
It's hard to tell if some of those dots are bean shaped or not...they're so small...and that head is pretty crowded with stuff. You'd expect some change in the shape of the objects. That's why it's probably best to keep it in mind in any case and nail it for good by getting a bigger scope onto the task. You're probably correct in saying it's most likely just a chance alignment of stars, but you never know
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  #338  
Old 28-12-2011, 03:33 AM
swannies1983 (Dan)
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Another cloudy morning! One cloud free morning over this whole comet period. Yeah this is summer in Adelaide! Missed two lunar eclipses and now the comet due to cloud. Adelaide isn't part of the tropics now is it?...ppfftt
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  #339  
Old 28-12-2011, 04:33 AM
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I braved the clouds in the hope that I might be able to shoot through a suckerhole or two... no joy!! How did everyone else go? Is it too late, do you think?
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  #340  
Old 28-12-2011, 04:39 AM
swannies1983 (Dan)
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I take it back as the clouds have cleared. Yep, faded away quite a bit since the last time I saw it (24th). Can still see it with the naked eye, but not the two tails.
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