Set up to catch a comet!

Submitted by thenakedastronomer

Here’s the basic setup … I found a great spot near the Bremerton National Airport and I’m all ready for darkfall – except that a keen eye will notice I’ve yet to add the counterweights to the AVX mount … It may sound odd to do astrophotography near the end of an airport runway but this is a heavily forested area of the country and it’s hard to find a spot with clear views of all horizons. And it’s a small airport, so there aren’t a lot of lights or air traffic to deal with. Where’s YOUR favorite or most unusual observing spot?

Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy from Port Orchard, WA

Submitted by thenakedastronomer

Here are some of many photos I got of Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy. The photos were taken Wednesday night, January 8, 2015, from my backyard astronomical observatory in Port Orchard, Washington. The comet passed closest to Earth yesterday, January 7. These photos were taken through a high, thin cloud layer, using a Canon T3i at prime focus on an Orion 8″ Astrograph Newtonian telescope with an MPCC coma corrector. The comet is climbing rapidly in the East and currently is due south of a point between the constellations Taurus and Orion.

NGC 7023: The Iris Nebula

Submitted by thenakedastronomer

The Iris Nebula, also NGC 7023 and Caldwell 4, is a bright reflection nebula and Caldwell object in the constellation Cepheus. NGC 7023 is actually the cluster within the nebula, LBN 487, and the nebula is lit by a magnitude +7 star, SAO 19158.[1] It shines at magnitude +6.8. It is located near the Mira-type variable star T Cephei, and near the bright magnitude +3.23 variable star Beta Cephei (Alphirk). It lies 1,300 light-years away and is six light-years across. (Source: Wikipedia).

Comet Lovejoy’s C/2014 Q2 time lapse sequence

Submitted by thenakedastronomer

This my second Lovejoy comet to image. Here are six stacked photos of Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy as it races over Seattle. To show how fast the comet is moving against the star field, these six photos were 8-second exposures with roughly five minute intervals. The images were captured with a Canon 60D at ISO 1600, 70mm lens. 6 x 8 subs, DeepSkyStacker). The photo sequence was shot at the Bremerton National Airport in Washington State. The comet should brighten and move higher in the sky in January, 2015.

M37 in Auriga (Salt and Pepper Cluster)

Submitted by thenakedastronomer

This is Messier 37, the “Salt and Pepper Cluster.” It is the richest open cluster in the constellation Auriga. That’s all for tonight – processing the comet pictures will take some time so that will have to come tomorrow. But at least I got something up here for you to look at tonight. (For those who like to know, it’s a single exposure, ISO 6400, 20 seconds, Canon 60D at prime focus on an 8″ Meade LX200 with Lepus .62 telecompressor).

Comet C/2014 F4 (Jacques) in Lyra

Submitted by thenakedastronomer

Comet Jacques, at magnitude 12.8, is a very dim object. Here is an image of it in the constellation Lyra. This is a fast-moving comet - you can observe its motion in a matter of minutes with a good telescope. This is a series of 19 two-minute exposures, with 24 seconds in between. (8' Meade LX200R, Canon 60D at prime focus, Lepus .62 telecompressor, ISO 1600, Maxim DSLR). Photographed from Port Orchard, Washington.