Comet 103p/Hartley 2 – October 13 2010
Well, tonight seemed like it would be a good night although wow it’s getting cold out there fast. And lots of dew, too. My astrozap dew shield was pretty much dripping wet. Gross!
Tonight I decided to image with the CPC 1100, f/6.3 reducer — and to mix it up, I decided to 2×2 bin with the StarShoot Pro. Pulling in 60s unguided exposures yielded pretty nice subs (well, half of them passed my test). I also left the Skyglow filter on, although I don’t know that’s really useful for cometary imaging. Didn’t seem to hurt.
The real problem is that I think I was getting started a bit too early — around 8:00 pm, so the comet was very low — meaning I was looking through a lot of atmosphere. Overall seeing was mediocre but seemed to be improving once I decided I was going to break down my setup and head in. I’m sure it’s perfect now that I’m back inside! It’s not so much about how late it is, but rather how cold! Ugh!
If you are looking for information on how to find comet 103p/Hartley 2, I updated my original stellarium map and included the RA/DEC table there.
In comparing back against my previous images, it does seem like there is beginning to be some bit of a comet-like tail, but it’s certainly not uber long.
Processing this comet in MaximDL with ‘sum’ seems to be working best for me. If I use the usual sigma-clip, I get some pretty funky looking stars. DeepSkyStacker has a really nifty “comet” stack feature which I continue to fumble around with. It seems like the ‘star detection threshold’ needs to go lower to be able to mark the actual comet. Even if I keep in the subs which have the comet selectable, the output seems to be really mangled. Oh well, star trails are pretty. Enjoy.