Advertisements

Category: Comets


CometLovejoy_C2014Q2

Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 taken on January 15, 2015 using a 4-inch f/9 refractor and a Canon 450D DSLR in Antipolo, Philippines. The photo was a stack of 12 images, with each one exposed for 60 seconds at ISO 1600, processed using Deep-Sky Stacker. Photo Credit: Anthony Urbano. For more images of comets, click here.

For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Advertisements
CometLovejoyDec12,2015_C2014 Q2
C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy imaged on January 12, 2014 from Cavite, Philippines, using a Canon 450D DSLR and an f/1.8, 50 mm lens. The photo was a stack of 10 images, with each one exposed for 6 seconds at ISO 1600, processed using Deep-Sky Stacker. Photo Credit: Anthony Urbano. For other images of comets, click here.

Here are simple steps to image comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2 ) using an entry-level DSLR camera:

1. At around 7 pm to about 1 am tonight (your local time), look at the sky and try to match the patterns in this finder chart (from Sky and Telescope) with the actual stars in the sky. You should be able to spot Orion (a prominent constellation) and then estimate the general location of the comet.
2. Mount the camera on a tripod.
3. Focus the camera lens at the stars by pointing it at any bright star and then adjust the focus manually by rotating the focus ring.
4. Point the camera to the general direction of the comet.
5. Set the camera to manual shooting (M) mode.
6. Set the ISO to highest value (ISO 1600 is recommended).
7. Set the aperture to its widest setting (e.g., f/1.8 is preferred instead of f/8).
8. Experiment with various exposure time. Try 1 or 2 seconds exposure and then adjust accordingly. In my 50 mm f/1.8 lens, I used 6 seconds exposure. The exposure time must be long enough so that the image of the comet would register, but not too long so as to avoid over-exposure and star trailing.
9. Once ready, take a photo using the camera’s remote shutter or time-delay function to minimize vibrations.
10. Check your images for any hint of the comet. It should show up as a fuzzy green patch in your photos. Adjust framing as necessary.

The comet will show up nicely in photos and may also be bright enough to be visible to the naked eye, especially if viewed from the province. To see the comet visually from a city, you need at least a decent pair of binoculars. For queries, kindly leave a comment.

For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Pan-STARRS_manila_mar12,2013_urbano

Comet Pan-STARRS, March 12, 2013 imaged from Manila, Philippines using a Canon 450D DSLR, 50 mm lens, f/1.8, ISO 400, 1/3 sec exposure. Photo Credit: Anthony Urbano

Comet C/2011 L4 Pan-STARRS was named after its discoverer, the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS), an array of astronomical cameras and telescopes which automatically captures and detects subtle changes in the position of sky objects, thereby discovering a huge number of comets in the process. This March, comet C/2011 L4 Pan-STARRS will be visible as a faint fuzzy object, about 10 degrees above the western horizon for approximately 30 minutes right after sunset (approximately 6:30-7:00 pm in your local time). While the comet shows up nicely in photos, it may not be bright enough to be visible to the naked eye. To see the comet visually, you need at least a decent pair of binoculars.

To learn how to find the comet and capture it with a DSLR camera, click here.
For more comet images, click here.

For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

If you have a DSLR with at least 50 mm lens, then you might want to image the comet now visible in the western horizon right after sunset.

Pan-STARRS_findermar11,2013_

A simulated image for finding comet Pan-STARRS, which will be visible low in the western horizon for a week or two until it fades away from our view. Face west at around 6:30 pm and start shooting!

Imaging the comet C/2011 L4 Pan-STARRS is comparable to imaging a very faint and distant fireworks. The trick is to use longer exposures, achieve precise focus, and minimize vibration. Here are simple steps on how you can attempt to image this comet:

1. Mount the camera on to a tripod and then point it to the western horizon.
2. Set the DSLR to Manual Shooting (M) mode.
3. Focus the camera lens manually to infinity, preferably by using the ‘Live-View’ function. You may use any visible star (or perhaps the planet Jupiter, which will be visible high in the sky) for precision.
4. Set the ISO to highest value (ISO 400 is recommended).
5. Set the aperture to its widest setting (e.g., f/1.8 is preferred instead of f/8).
6. Setting the correct exposure time is a bit tricky as it depends on a number of factors. In most cases, experimenting with various exposure times usually works best. Try 1 or 2 seconds exposure and then adjust accordingly (try shorter or longer exposures; for my 50 mm f/1.8 lens, I have used 0.3 seconds). The goal is to take a ‘bright enough’ photo of the sky. It means that the exposure time must be long enough so that the image of the very faint comet would register, but not too long so as to avoid over-exposure.
7. Once ready, press the shutter using the camera’s ‘remote shutter’ (or time-delay function) to minimize vibration caused by pressing the shutter.
8. Check your images for any hint of the comet. Keep on shooting, it will show up as soon as the background sky becomes relatively darker than the comet.
9. Once you have located the comet, you can then use it’s relatively bright head (nucleus) for a more precise focusing. Note that with powerful lenses, the nucleus and a hint of its tail shows up in the camera’s LCD when set to ‘Live-View’.

The comet is very faint and quite small, thus, it is recommended that you use longer lenses. The comet will show up nicely in photos, but it may not be bright enough to be visible to the naked eye. To see the comet visually, you need at least a decent pair of binoculars. Timing is also critical since the comet will be visible only for a very short window, most probably only for about 30 minutes right after sunset, each day until next week. Happy comet hunting! :) For queries, kindly leave a comment.

For a recent comet photo taken with a DSLR, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.

For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

C/2009 P1 Garradd imaged on the morning of January 31, 2012 using a 4-inch f/9 refractor and a Canon 450D DSLR in UP Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. 60-sec exposure, ISO 1600, tracking mount.

%d bloggers like this: