Comet C/2011 L4 Pan-STARRS

Now for a truly awful comet image.

C/2011 L4 PanSTARRS
An awful photo of C/2011 Pan-STARRS, SBIG STi and 100mm lens
But it is all I managed to get this evening. A to-do list that is much to long and vehicle trouble caused me to reconsider plans to observe at the VIS. Thus I planned to observe the comet from the driveway. This works well in some respects, using the mounting points in the driveway I can have the ‘scope reasonably well polar aligned in the daytime. This would make finding the comet far easier, I could offset from the Sun and have the ‘scope aimed at the correct coordinates before it was dark.

It had been wonderfully clear all afternoon. It was just as the sky darkened that trouble appeared, a band of high clouds sweeping in from the west. Noooo!

The comet appeared in the STi guide camera right on schedule, my coordinates less than half a degree off! Not bad with a manual telescope mount offsetting from the Sun. The clouds swept over the comet a few minutes later, just as the tail was beginning to appear in the darkening sky.

I did grab a few images from the guide camera and snap a few frames with the DSLR. The monochrome CCD on the guider managed slightly better shots despite a fairly bright sky. I managed a few more frames as an opening appeared a few minutes after that. It is still an awful image. The only reason I could tell it was the comet is that it remained centered as the clouds swept through the image. Take my word for it, the barely there spot at the center of the photo is the comet.

At least my vehicle is fixed, a new alternator in place. Try again tomorrow?

Author: Andrew

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

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