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Knight of Clear Skies

Comet Jacques Moving Past the Garnet Star

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Just put together an animated GIF of Comet Jacques moving through Cepheus from the subs I took on the 31st August. The nebula on the left is IC1396, home of the Elephant Trunk.

15236554410_9e5a6a43d3_o.gif

It's appearance is almost circular as its tail was pointing away from the Earth at the time. It shows 48 minutes of movement against the starfield. Each frame is a 2 minute sub taken with my 135mm Super-Takumar lens.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to create the GIF, I just converted all the subs and loaded them into a new GIMP image as layers. I then deleted the background layer, cropped the image and selected Filter->Animation->Playback. Then I used Filter->Animation->Optimize(For GIF) and exported as GIF with the animation box ticked. As a bonus I think its showing up the periodic error in my mount. I'd expect the image to drift as I discovered the other day that my polar scope is misaligned, but the drift seems to stutter. I really need to try stripping it down.

Here's the result of the final stack, 30 minutes of data:

15152423681_02bc8dde61_b.jpg

The comet appears a bit streaky as I was unable to get the comet + stars mode to work in DSS and had to blend two separate stacks, I'd like to fix it if I can. Looking at the image again, I might boost the saturation some more.

Hope you like the animation. From the speed Jacques is moving at you can see how lucky I was to catch it right by the Garnet Star. While I imaged it once previously by the Double Cluster I had no idea it was in Cepheus when I trained my camera on IC1396. :)

Edited by Knight of Clear Skies
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Thanks for the comments. I'll try and sort out the colour balance in the animation sometime but I'll probably need to use another program as GIMP only supports 8 bit images. I've reprocessed the final image now, here is the new version:

15502755272_8b974e12cf_b.jpg

And a closer crop that shows up the Elephant Trunk more clearly.

15479986826_1a9e8ae02f_b.jpg

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