Postcard from the Universe – 103P/Hartley 2

I am waiting for the Moon to leave the evening sky before shooting the comet again. In the meantime I am processing more of the material obtained earlier in the month. In this case a photo of Comet 103P/Hartley 2 taken October 6th with Keck 2 and DEIMOS. The image marks the first time I have attempted to take and process an image with a 10m telescope. Just a wee bit larger than the 76mm refractor I usually use to take astrophotos!

The image is notable for its complete lack of any interesting structure. There are no jets, shells or other inner coma detail visible. The tail is simply a general brightening to the southwest (lower right in this image).

The comet is moving very quickly across the sky, even more so with the high magnification lent by a large telescope. Even short exposures turn the stars into long streaks. In this case multicolor streaks as the camera cycles through the filters needed for a color image.

103P/Hartley 2
Comet 103P Hartley 2 with Keck2 and DEIMOS 6Oct2010 @ 7:27UT, 3x60s, 3x60s and 3x120s with standard BVR astrometric filters, credit: Cooper/Wirth/W.M. Keck Observatory

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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