Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Comet McNaught Take 4

My fourth set of Comet McNaught images. This time from a dark skies site about 35km NNE of Canberra. There was no cloud for the first 30 minutes after comet sighting but it slowly rolled in. Inspite of this some very nice images of the comet and the immense arcing striated tail, which im guess doesnt completely set till midnight.

Conditions were not ideal however due to blasting winds and a large amount of dust from the drought affected fields. The Moon is also just about to start having an affect on viewing. Please enjoy these shots and an Orion starfield for good measure!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Comet McNaught Take 3

Last night (21-01-07) the trough of bad weather crossing SE Australia cleared from the ACT region at just the right time. Within about 1.5 hours before sundown a hole developed to the SE and widened with only low cloud hanging on the bridabellas and passing scud. Comet McNaught again looked fantastic with the striations in the tail clearly visible and a giant arc to the north being faintly suggested. The nucleus was lost about 30 minutes before it would normally set in a cloud bank but it was about to enter ground haze anyway. The comet may have been slightly darker than the previous night but still incredible. A two day old moon was visible but quickly set. In another 2 days it will start to disrupt the viewing I think. The better photos are below.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Comet McNaught 2nd Take

Here are my second set of mc naught photos from 20-Jan-07. Absolutely brilliant comet though i wasnt in the right location. Still great amazement and fun had by all. The tail stretched 15 degrees where i was but could only get so much in FOV due to street lighting around.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Comet McNaught First Take

The following are the first shots of Comet McNaught from Mt Ainslie in Canberra on the night of 15-Jan-2007. Conditions were at best poor with heavy smoke haze from bushfires up to about 5 degrees above the western horizon and decreasing from their up. I picked up the comet about 5 minutes after sunset whilst looking at an aircraft. Tracked all the way till around 8:50pm when it was lost by all in a heavy haze bank near the horizon (all but the man with the IR camera that is!).

Comet was naked eye visible for about 5 mins but only marginally due to poor conditions. It was visible in scopes and binoculars from sundown till about 10 mins before it set.

Shots were taken prime focus with Skywatcher 6" Refractor (fl=1200) using Cannon EOS 400D DSLR at various ISO and speed settings. More tomorrow night!

Click on images below to enlarge. Some nicer tail and nucleus detail in the enlargements.