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Comet Hunting…

I’ve had a very busy couple of days hunting for Comet Lovejoy…

First of all, Friday night… wow, what a hunt that was! A HUGE thanks goes to my fellow EAS member Carol Grayson who took us out on a comet hunting expedition after dark. Typically, after Kendal had basked in wintery sunshine all day, as darkness fell on Friday evening a great filthy thick quilt of cloud was thrown over us, and I managed to get only two or three pictures from my backyard before the stars, and the comet, vanished from view. But our plan had always been to head south, and east, and that’s what we did, with Kendal falling farther and farther behind until the bright lights of The South loomed up ahead of us. For a long time all we saw was orange sky, the light pollution bouncing off the cloud just hiding everything, but finally the clouds cleared and we saw stars above and on all sides of us again, so we found a place to stop and take a look. By this time we were way down past Clitheroe, 40 plus miles from Kendal, so there was considerable light pollution, and although I’m sure the poor souls who live in that part of the country were thinking “Wow! Look at all those stars” that night, for us, used to darker views, looking at the sky from there was like looking at and photographing the comet on a brightly moonlit night up here, but that didn’t matter – there was the comet! And it showed up well on photographs, despite the false moonlight.

So between seven and half twelve we basically hopscotched our way home to Kendal between various dark spots, grabbing images when we could and seeing the comet through binoculars and my trusty Travelscope refractor. It was a fantastic, frustrating, rewarding night, and again, a *huge* thank you to Carol for finding clear skies for us on a night when Kendal was a dead loss. Here are my best pics…

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And then last night, which wasn’t quite so successful…! 🙂

After getting back from a fun day at the Camping and Caravanning Club show down in Manchester with Stella (note: the rather grandly-named “Event City” turns out to be more like “Event Warehouse”), the highlight of which was probably the travel show *next* door, where we were treated to flamenco and salsa dancing and free Cuban rum, I spent most of the evening dashing in and out of the flat, lured out into the freezing evening by a teasing flash of an ankle by Jupiter in the sky, only to have the sky completely cloud over again before it started to snow, but eventually I DID manage to grab a few frames of Comet Lovejoy inbetween yet more flurries of snow. But it was a bit of a waste of time to be honest; there was so much moisture in the air that trailing your hand through the air almost left ripples, and every frame I took was clagged up with light pollution diffusing through the haze. But hey, I managed to get a couple, and they have processed just enough to bring the comet swimming up out of the murk, so not wasted effort, and fun to see how it had moved.

Here are the pics, for what they’re worth…

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Tonight still promises to be marrow-chillingly cold and clear, and with no Moon in the way an epic photographic session from a dark sky site beckons…. will post any pics I take here, so check back if you can! 🙂

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3 Responses

  1. really great work and Thank you so much for your advice and informative blogs. I have mentioned your great site in my blog. thank you again.

  2. […] mehr, mehr, mehr, mehr, mehr, mehr, mehr, mehr, mehr, mehr, mehr, mehr, mehr, mehr, mehr, mehr, mehr, mehr, mehr und hier), dem 16. Januar (mehr, mehr, mehr, mehr und mehr), dem 15. Januar (mehr), 14. […]

  3. Thank you for sharing all the tips and GREAT photos. My best were about a week ago. Was out at 3:00 in the morning night before last and ended up trashing about 60 shots. Came up empty.

    Good for you! You should feel proud of your photos!

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