Sunday, November 11, 2007

A crummy picture of Comet Holmes

This is a photo of comet Holmes I took with my Panasonic DMC FX3 point and shoot digital camera without any telescopic attachment, this evening November 12th. You can see the comet in the left middle of the picture. It's the fuzzy, barely discernible object below and to the left of the brightest star - you can see the comet better if you enlarge the photo by clicking it. In the 15 second exposure with 3X telephoto (it seemed silly to use the telephoto when the object was so small) you can see the movement of the stars which makes stars into an elongated blobs rather than a points of light. The comet was much brighter the previous night, November 11th and seemed to be quite large, about 1/4 - 1/2 the size of the moon. This was by far the biggest and easiest comet I've seen with the naked eye. Clouds were streaming in so I wasn't able to experiment and try for a better photo.

Thanks to Entangled who mentioned that Comet Holmes was visible.

Here's a great site to see wonderful photos of the comet and how to find it.


Blogger Good Shepherd said...

Actually, I like that photo, in that it renders an image similar to what one might see with the naked eye.

I've got a few on my blog as well. It is a great comet!

8:07 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hello Good Shepherd,
You have a wonderful astronomical site. Lovely photos of the comet. I thought about using a 20-60X spotting scope but didn't have a means to attach the camera so I had to just use the camera alone. I'm amazed and pleased I could get a picture with a point and shoot camera.

5:35 AM  
Blogger Entangled said...

Hey, that looks just about how I saw it without optics. I've only had one chance to look for it, and it wasn't a perfectly clear night. I hope we get some clear skies before it fades.

You wouldn't think 15 seconds would be enough to show star streaks - we don't realize most of the time just how fast the Earth is spinning.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

I was surprised when I saw the star streaks too. And the streaks are in all the photos I took so the photo I posted was not an anomaly or because I moved the camera. Strange to think we seem fairly stationary yet are actually moving, what is it 25,000 mph at the equator so 20,000? + mph at our latitude? Actually way, way more if you include how fast the earth moves about the sun and the sun around the constellation and the constellation away from the big bang.

The comet was pretty impressive no? This is what I though Halleys would be like. That was a huge disappointment.

It's raining tonight so no attempts to photograph it again. I will try it with the 20-60 X 80mm spotting scope if I can set it up and if the weather cooperates. I was pretty impressed with Good Shepherd's Questar photos. You should check out the site to see some incredible photos.

6:27 PM  
Blogger A wildlife gardener said...

This is so exciting, Ki. I did not see it. I have never seen a comet, but I am often out watching the stars.

Living as we do in the heart of the countryside we get clear views. Sometimes we lie down inside sleeping bags, wrapped up snug and warm. These dens are on top of our sun-loungers.

At this time of year we need coats, hats and gloves on. We use our binoculars and a telescope to look at the moon and stars.

5:52 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hello Wildlife Gardener,
I'm sure the comet is still very visible especially in the relatively unpolluted contrysides of Scotland. I'm not much of an astronomer but I would assume the comet could be found in the same location amongst the constellations as in North America. I live in a light polluted area between NY and Philadelphia (you can see the glow from each city quite easily) and could still see the comet easily. The street lamps all around our housing development make it even more difficult to view deep sky objects. We once camped in the Teton range in Wyoming. No light pollution there. With a 9F degrees cold crisp night you could easily walk by starlight alone. I never saw so many stars in all my life. The clouds of stars forming the milky way was incredibly visible. I envy your ability to view unobstructed skies. Thanks for the comment. I hope you spot the comet. It is a wonder.

10:25 AM  

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