Finally! Comet 103P/Hartley 2 Gets Pretty!
So I’ve been crunching all night long on this comet. And I have learned oh so much! Why are the best nights always so arduous?
First, I’ve set up RealVNC because it is so cold outside. I can’t bear to sit there and freeze! Instead I’m controlling my Windows Vista machine which captures the images from my Mac, in the nice warmth of my living room. Ahh.
Next, I’ve tried guiding on stars and stacking, like I have been doing. However, it’s finally now bright enough that with 5 second pulses on the Orion StarShoot Autoguider that I am able to have PHDGuiding operate off the comet itself. This makes for some very interest subs!
Here’s a stack of 5x 5 minute subs with MaximDL stacking in ‘sum’ mode. Again, stacking in Sigma-clip makes the stars look incredibly odd!
Wow! this comet is getting bright, green, and pretty dang neat looking! If you have not yet seen it — even with binoculars, you ought to! It is way cool. You can use the star chart or even the J2000 RA/DEC locations of comet Hartley 2 if you prefer. Either way, spend some time and watch! The viewing is going to be getting worse as the moon get sbigger in the next few weeks, making tonight a good combination of low moon light and proximity.
I still struggle with DeepSkyStacker. It seems that if I give enough leeway in the ‘star detection threshold’ for the ‘comet mode’ to work, that I end up with a very poor quality output. On the other hand, if I set the threshold higher, it doesnt allow me to select the comet. Ho hum? Hopefully I’ll be able to figure this one out in the upcoming weeks, since I am bound to get more images — or even want to reprocess the ones I have already…
I reprocessed a separate set of 40x two minute exposures using Nebulosity. This seems to have also turned out pretty nicely! One major difference here is that these subs were autoguided on a star while the 5 minute exposures above were actually autoguided on the comet itself. Anyway, enjoy!