Saturday, November 16, 2013

ISON hunting

The alarm woke me up at 4am this morning and I drove to my favorite eastern horizon to attempt a shot of Comet ISON (C/2012 S1).  I was technically successful but my barn door tracking mount was being ornery so unfortunately I ended up with only a single worthwhile shot.  I would have liked to get closer to a hundred shots to process into a sharp noise-free image.  There was only an hour between the near full Moon setting and sunrise so that adds some pressure as well.

It wasn't too cold, I was serenaded by coyotes as I watched the Moon set and the ISS fly over, then the Sun rose beautifully not too long after so at least it was enjoyable just being outside.

Comet ISON can be currently located near Spica in Virgo, this morning it was approx 5 degrees above (about the width of three fingers at arms length).  It is expected to brighten in the coming weeks and if it survives it's trip past the Sun on 11/28/13 it will likely be visible through December, possibly spectacularly!

300mm, 40sec, f8, ISO1000

I also got a nice view of Mercury close to sunrise on the lower left, Spica is the bright higher star to the right.
34mm, 8.9sec, f10, ISO100

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