Sunday, 7 February 2010

Comet Siding Spring

On another frustrating night trying to control a confused telescope with a very rigid operating system I still somehow managed a few shots of Comet Siding Spring. We got a visual sighting of the comet before imaging. I had to star-hop to it through northern Boötes. It was not obvious at first that it was in the field of view and I may well have gone past it a couple of times. But this process was made much easier with the charts from The view was later improved greatly by putting in the zoom eyepiece. I find it very interesting that undermagnification causes the perception of less contrast, and even contrarily makes objects invisible while more light is reaching the back of your eye. The tracking was a serious problem, we corrected it for a few minutes using drift correction, but later on the scope ended up thinking it was about 25 degrees from where it was and nearly knocked over the step ladder. The frames were 6x15 and 2x30 seconds at f/3 ish on the 20" and I still had to be detrail by 2 or 3 pixels after stacking. Not bad for a low altitude comet dimmer than 10th mag and a slightly misty night.


Anonymous said...

Yes, that's good, does this happen to be C/2007 Q3 Siding Spring?

Dr Dan said...

To give it its full name, yes. I might try 81P/Wild 2 later if it climbs a bit higher a bit earlier before it sinks too far south.