While comet C/2012 S1 ISON is getting all of the attention, it is not the only comet currently visible. There are a couple other good comets available to observe or photograph. On Sunday morning I tracked down and photographed three comets.
The ZEQ25, TV-76mm and Canon 6D setup and taking photos of comet ISON
Comet ISON is sharing the stage with comet 2P/Encke
and comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy
. All three are bright enough to be spotted in a small telescope. Encke was about magnitude 8, Lovejoy and ISON were both about magnitude 5 on Sunday morning.
Despite following comet ISON for the last year, I had never actually observed it myself. Attempts to change this repeatedly ran into problems, either work commitments or bad weather. Over the last month cloudy skies have been more common than clear, even the big ‘scopes on the mountain losing a large amount of time to poor conditions.
Continue reading Three Comets in the Dawn…
Josh, Thanks for sending me the photo!
The author under the Milky Way at Oregon Star Party, photo by Josh Partee
The plan is simple, a vacation combining a visit to my family and a run to Oregon Star Party. I miss doing the larger regional star parties, six telescopes is a big star party on the island. OSP would feature hundreds of telescopes, speakers, and hopefully dark skies. I also volunteered as a speaker, may as well bring and share little Keck experience.
The author taking astrophotos under the Milky Way Galaxy
Heading to a major star party takes some planning. Worse, I would be doing this with what could be packed for airline travel. The answer would be to implement my usual star party plan… Set up for astrophotography, this would allow vising other telescopes while my camera ran under computer control. Good astrophotography can also be done with relatively small equipment.
The site is quite remote, no nearby hardware store to replace a missing bolt, no internet connection to allow download of a missing driver. The setup would have to work with what was packed to start with. Several iterations of packing showed that two cases would be required to carry the setup. An ancient hard suitcase I have had since my Air Force days, and a hard equipment case purchased years ago for a portable telescope I have yet to build. At least both had wheels and could be hauled by one person through an airport terminal.
After a few very nice days visiting with my parents I steal away in the camper for the drive to OSP. Four hours sees me over the Cascades, into the Ochoco Mountains east of Prineville. It is a very pleasant drive, a beautiful day, open roads, Mt. Hood soaring over the trees that line the highway. The sort of driving you just can not do on the island, the sort of vacation I grew up with.
Continue reading Oregon Star Party 2013…