Marko Posavec Photography

Along Came a Comet

Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy is probably the most interesting astronomical event this month. Throughout late 2014 and early 2015, it’s slowly sliding through Eridanus and Taurus constellations, just barely visible to the naked eye. I haven’t taken any decent shots of a comet yet, so it was only natural to go and try to catch this one.

Lovejoy is far from spectacular. Though visible to the naked eye, it’s still just a fuzzy greenish patch with a faint tail. Nevertheless, the opportunity had to be seized. As luck would have it, there was finally a clear evening with decent visibility – but also with strong SW wind, not far from storm-force gusts. That’s why the originally chosen location, a meadow on the outskirts of town, was virtually unusable.

Fortunately, someone thought of a forest clearing some kilometers away. This was a good choice: the trees sheltered us from the wind and there was enough sky visible to enjoy the comet, Orion and other things. We set up a telescope, two photo tripods and the SkyWatcher AllView mount (I finally got to know it properly).

So here it is. Photos were taken with my Olympus E-5 and Zuiko 50mm f/2.0 lens mounted on the AllView. There is some field rotation, obviously, but that can’t be helped with alt-azimuthal mounts. ISO was set to 800, aperture to 2.0, and the exposure times are 60 seconds for the first one, 50 for the second, and 40 seconds for the third and fourth images.

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Those stars in the upper left are the Hyades – the bright orange one is Aldebaran, of course.

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