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Old 26-05-2024, 09:01 PM
Mickoid (Michael)
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A fading Pons Brooks

Well I've been trying to get a decent shot of this comet for a few weeks now but either the weather or lens issues have prevented me doing so. The best chance I got so far was last night, fading now as it heads away from the sun. There's not much sign of a tail, probably because this shot was taken towards Melbourne's light polluted skies from the north eastern outskirts of the city, so hardly a chance of showing any great detail. At least there's still enough colour and shape to set it apart from the stars.

Tamron 500mm f8 Mirror lens and Fujifilm XT-100, on an iOptron Sky Tracker
20 X 10 secs @ 2000iso and 15 X 8secs 3200iso.
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Last edited by Mickoid; 26-05-2024 at 09:48 PM. Reason: corrected info
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Old 27-05-2024, 04:10 PM
Dave882 (David)
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Nice work on that- I think Iíve missed the boat on this one we just never got a good clear moonless night. I reckon I can just make out a tail - would certainly be easier without the Lp but such is life as an urban astrophotographer
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Old 27-05-2024, 06:36 PM
Leo.G (Leo)
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That's still an outstanding shot and as Dave mentioned, possibly something I'll have to wait another 71 years to get. I'll only be 135 years old.
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Old 27-05-2024, 10:32 PM
Mickoid (Michael)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave882 View Post
Nice work on that- I think Iíve missed the boat on this one we just never got a good clear moonless night. I reckon I can just make out a tail - would certainly be easier without the Lp but such is life as an urban astrophotographer
Thanks Dave, yeah, the weather has not helped at all and this was always going to be a difficult target low in the west just after sunset. The pay-off for being a little higher in the sky is a dimmer nucleus with a reduced tail.

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Originally Posted by Leo.G View Post
That's still an outstanding shot and as Dave mentioned, possibly something I'll have to wait another 71 years to get. I'll only be 135 years old.
Thanks Leo, maybe in 10 years time they'll have a pill to extend your life another 54 years! There's comet Tsuchinshan on its way so maybe it will be better.
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Old 28-05-2024, 01:02 AM
Leo.G (Leo)
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So much rain and cloud and then someone explained through binoculars I'd be looking for a blurry star, sadly through binoculars all stars are blurry with my eyesight, it's just the luck of the draw and finding the right blurry star. I did spend a couple of clear nights out with 2 pairs of binoculars and a camera on a tripod and with the aid of Stellarium I still couldn't see anything. I 'm starting to think this stuff is for people with better sight. Though our nights have been clear the past few days and I'm seriously thinking of taking 2 tripods up to a local lookout, one with 20x89999999999999999999999999999999 999996 binoculars, I wish, my cat was just saying "HI", 20x50 binoculars and another with my D810 and an 80-200 f2.8 ED Nikon lens and see if maybe I can get just a little lucky.
When would the comet be visible if I could find it (approximate evening time to start looking)?


Just after sunset the ice hasn't formed and I don't need a heater band or hair dryer for my lens but the hair dryers only work of mains power, something I won't have available at the lookout. I must design a low wattage unit one day to run off 12 volts with just enough heat and air flow (I have plenty of 5 and 12 volt fans and nichrome wire to make a suitable coil) to defrost my lenses if I take them out in the field and away from my house.
Next plan, 12 volt hair dryer I never use for my long hair, only for telescopes and camera lenses in our winters which drop down to minus 12 frequently but, we get the clearest, crispest skies through winter.
Lucky winter isn't here yet and it's not dropping below minus 4 on average.


As for my age, I tell everyone I'm four years off 60. If they want to assume that means I'm 56 I'm fine with that but it is the other way, I just don't confess to it too often.
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Old 28-05-2024, 07:29 AM
N1 (Mirko)
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Great capture - dust tail and gas tail now almost 180į apart by the looks of it.
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Old 28-05-2024, 11:53 AM
Mickoid (Michael)
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Thanks Mirko, I was wondering that about the Ion tail but also thought it may have been an artifact created by the bright nucleus and the quirkiness of a mirror lens. I've tried to find an image of it on the internet taken on the same night and couldn't find any to verify whether this is what's happened.

Leo, thanks for your input and your cat has amazing keyboard skills! Was it warming up before it wrote the rest of your post? Don't worry about finding it difficult to find the comet. It's dim from light polluted skies and definitely a binocular target, no chance with unaided eyes.
I'm north of 60 and struggle even with binoculars to see it, I have to use averted vision and my eyes aren't great either. It's a little higher in the sky now so from a dark sky it should be easier to locate. Try looking above and to the left of the star Rigel in Orion. Use an app like Stellarium to locate it with your mobile phone. Regarding the dew, maybe try making a dew shield for your camera lens. Good luck. P.S Maybe your cat can help you find it!
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Old 28-05-2024, 12:19 PM
Leo.G (Leo)
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Thanks Michael!


Yes, it likes to flex it's claws before speed typing Haha
Cats are very smart animals despite what a lot of people seem to think.


My cats help me find a lot of things but I don't think it will be a comet. I have 5 of the monsters, not by choice, a neighbour died and his little black Bombay decided she lived at my place and she had a warm, dry spot in the yard and food (and lots of cuddles), she then went on to have 3 boys then 3 girls (then the vet took a fire hose and scalpel to her when I saw her offering herself up to every tomcat around town). The jet black male and female kittens got stolen after being desexed and chipped and a tabbie with tiger stripes got stolen. He returned recently but took off when my son approached him (and my son was suicidal after his favourite kitten got stolen, people have no idea how they affect other people when they do this stuff). I think someone (and I think I know who) encouraged him in her house with food and locked him in. I still have twin tuxedo females, a BIG tabbie male, the mum and my old cat I already had, they are all locked in the house overnight and are a constant source of joy and expense.


Anyway, the lookout I'm talking about has dark skies (or had unless council have put lighting up) and I'll take binoculars and camera up if I get a chance once the moonlight has diminished a little.
I'll be annoyed with myself if I don't at least try, even if I don't get good results.
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Old 30-05-2024, 12:09 AM
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astronobob (Bob)
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Nice work Michael, that Mirror lens seems compact enough for a star tracker, The stars look nice and tight, I wonder if could have afforded longer exposures.
Still awesome you have an image for the record, well done...
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Old 30-05-2024, 01:19 PM
Mickoid (Michael)
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Originally Posted by astronobob View Post
Nice work Michael, that Mirror lens seems compact enough for a star tracker, The stars look nice and tight, I wonder if could have afforded longer exposures.
Still awesome you have an image for the record, well done...
Thanks Bob, the reason for the shorter exposures was that I hadn't even polar aligned the tracker, just roughly pointed it to south, so pushing the exposures longer than that created elongated stars.
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