Comet Lovejoy is now at its best. I captured a time-lapse of it moving through the stars.
Last night I shot Comet Lovejoy with a couple of cameras. One, using a telephoto lens, captured the green comet with its long blue ion tail near the blue Pleiades star cluster (at top). The comet is passing west of the Pleiades over the next few nights, providing some wonderfully photogenic compositions.
Clear skies most of the night allowed me to also shoot through the telescope, taking 280 close-up images of the comet over 5 hours as the telescope tracked the stars. Assembled into a time-lapse movie, the result shows the comet slowly gliding against the background stars in its orbit around the Sun.
Expand the video frame to see it properly.
Each of the 280 frames is a 1-minute exposure, taken at ISO 6400, using a TMB 92mm refractor at f/4.4. I started the sequence just before 7pm and ended it just before midnight. So the movie records about 5 hours of motion.
Toward the end some cloud drifting through causes the stars to bloat up momentarily. And as the comet set lower into the west sky conditions got worse compared to the start of the sequence when the comet was at its highest in the south.
However, judicious processing using the time-lapse software LRTimelapse and Sequence helped compensate for the changing sky conditions.
Do take a look at this fine comet. The tail is visible in binoculars from a dark site.
– Alan, January 16, 2015 / © Alan Dyer 2015 / amazingsky.com