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Capturing Comet Lovejoy…

Oh, Comet Lovejoy, you’re going to drive me round the bend, I can tell…!!!

What a couple of frustrating evenings I’ve just had, trying to see and photograph Comet Lovejoy! It’s now in the northern sky… barely… and as the last two nights were clear/partly clear here in Cumbria I headed out to try and bag my first photos of it. On Boxing Day night I went up to Kendal Castle – and by “went up” I mean “slogged my way up muddy, treacherous tracks and slopes, slipping and sliding like Bambi on a frozen pond, until I reached the Castle”!!! – and went up onto the viewing platform in the castle to give myself the best chance of seeing the comet oh so low in the south. The light pollution was dreadful, turning the southern sky a hideous shade of orange/yellow, and low mist and fog made everything soft focus too, but after a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth, waiting for the comet to clear a sluggish cloud bank, I got it…! I’ve circled it to make it easier to spot… (click to enlarge)

1st pic enh circle

I know, I know, not very impressive… ok, not impressive AT ALL, but my first Lovejoy pic! Thankfully the sky started to clear so I hung around and got some better views…

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LJ2 F

Then last night, on the way back from visiting my mum up in Cockermouth, Stella and I stopped of close to and then in Bowness to try and capture Lovejoy again. Our first attempts were thwarted by a line of cloud which, while the rest of the sky was beautifully, agonisingly clear, sat right on top of the comet and refused to move away from it. I caught a couple of brief glimpses of it… (centre)

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…but that ******** cloud just refused to move, so we headed down to the lake at Bowness itself, and Stella, the little navigating genius that she is, found us a brilliant (if treaherous again!) spot right down on the water’s edge, and from there I was able to see the comet! But AGAIN, with the rest of the sky blissfully clear and spattered with stars, a line of cloud was sitting on top of Lovejoy and only breaking up for a few moments at a time. Still, it was long enough to allow us to get some pics…

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But as I said, VERY frustrating… if that (bleep) cloud had just been a LITTLE higher, or lower, we would have had a clear, unobstructed view of the comet and I would have got much better pictures. As it was – as has happened so many times in the ;past I’ve lost count – the sighting was ruined by a single mass of cloud that just sat right on top of the comet and refused, flatly, to move. Grrrrrrr.

Just have to try again tonight!

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2 Responses

  1. Excellent read 🙂
    I was a little more successful over on the Isle of Man but was a fair few degrees off where it actually was until I was too cold and tired, ended up as a green splodge on the 24mm pictures rather than the 200mm tracked shot, only around 10 degrees out >.<

    Spotted it on my star trails picture and got an impressive snap of the Orion nebula (first time I've seen it on my own pictures and first comet)

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