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How to find and track the comet Lovejoy without auto-guiding

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This maybe a stupid question but ive never imaged a comet before. I have a HEQ5pro but no auto guiding. What is the best way to find the comet - the other night i had a quick go before the clouds rolled in and i had to try to find it manually by slewing the scope - which i found it to be difficult to find. Is this the best way of doing it? Or am i missing something? 


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Thanks - is it just a case of locating it in the sky and manually slewing the scope over to it then?

Yes that is the ticket. If your scope is properly polar aligned, you can use it without guiding, the RA motor should be OK for tracking. I got this result with a Vixen GP mount, 80mm F/6 with 0.8x reducer (so F=384), and could do 40s exposures (at ISO1600) without any comet or star trailing visible. Stacking ten frames (then came the clouds :() on the comet using DSS got me this:

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If you have a SynScan handset you can directly input RA and DEC coordinates (once polar aligned and GoTo aligned (2 or 3 star alignment)).

Stellarium will give you the precise coordinates for the comet at any given time. Remember that RA and DEC change constantly for solar system objects to some degree so what's right one night won't be right the next.

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In the Meade scope I can input what they call ephemirids (or something like that) so the scope will GOTO and track the comet, don't know if you can do this with the HEQ5.

Having said that I haven't bothered as Lovejoy is pretty easy to follow.


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Thanks for your input guys - im hopefully gonna have a shot at this tonight if the weather holds! Excited!

Good luck. If you do find it have a good long look. There is some skill to seeing fine detail and it can't be rushed! 

I'm really hoping to get another peek tonight. Not seen it for 2 weeks due to weather. :(

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