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Photographing comet Love Joy tonight, uk


octavenoize
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Hi,

Last night I believe I managed to find comet Lovejoy, i am based just outside Southampton UK, in the countryside.

I managed to get a couple of quick shots, would anyone firstly be able to confirm that is it comet lovejoy?

I have a Nikon 5100, Sigma 10-20, Nikon 70-300mm vr , 50mm 1.8. 16-50mm and tripod

It is foretasted for clear skies tonight, so i was wondering if anyone could advice my best options for getting the best shots i can with my gear.

I do have deep sky stacker, although i have only used it once for twice for milky way shots, with not great sucess. 

Any help appreciated!

Thanks

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Yes you have just in from the bottom left corner. I submitted your picture to astrometry.net and its solution is below.

http://nova.astrometry.net/user_images/538950#annotated

Tonight it will have moved a little closer to IC1890.  Your image resolution is 24.8 arc seconds/pixel  so very coarse.

You make no mention of a tracking mount. without one you are going to be limited on exposure time before you get significant trailing. I would try with your 70-300 nearer the 70mm end and see what you get.  Try a range of exposures.

Andy

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Yes you have just in from the bottom left corner. I submitted your picture to astrometry.net and its solution is below.

http://nova.astrometry.net/user_images/538950#annotated

Tonight it will have moved a little closer to IC1890.  Your image resolution is 24.8 arc seconds/pixel  so very coarse.

You make no mention of a tracking mount. without one you are going to be limited on exposure time before you get significant trailing. I would try with your 70-300 nearer the 70mm end and see what you get.  Try a range of exposures.

Andy

Hi Andy,

Thanks for your reply.

I don't have a tracking mount unfortunately. So like you said, I will be limited on time before trails appear. 

I had a couple of tries last night with the 70-300, but had a really hard time focusing. I set the lens to infinity to start. I will give it another try tonight

Is it worth taking say 30 photos, so that I can try stack them? or is there no point,

Cheers

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Yes, going by the color I would say you have it there in the lower left corner. Comet Lovejoy is mainly aqua green in color, with a faint white tail.
 
Here is a link to a handy chart that can help you easily locate the comet at different dates.
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/wp-content/uploads/Lovejoy2-1250px.gif
 
Regarding your question about stacking, I have used Deep Sky Stacker on all my deep sky photos, including mine of comet Lovejoy. I find that it can make quite a worthy difference in most of my images. You may find it useful to do this if you do not have a tracking mount, and are restricted to shorter exposures. You may also want to consider taking some dark frames to remove the noise, as you are probably shooting at your highest ISO to pick up as much detail as possible without trails.
 
Unfortunately I do not have my raw unstacked files for comet Lovejoy, but below are two pictures of the horsehead nebula, both taken on a tracking mount. One of them is the unstacked image, and the other is a stack of 68 images. As you can see it made quite a difference with this shot. As for comet Lovejoy, you won't need that many pictures as the comet is much brighter than the horsehead nebula.

Horsehead Nebula IC 434

Christopher

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I had a couple of tries last night with the 70-300, but had a really hard time focusing. I set the lens to infinity to start. I will give it another try tonight

Is it worth taking say 30 photos, so that I can try stack them? or is there no point,

You may find it easier to get focus by using Jupiter as a target and then switch to manual focus.

I would take as many pictures as possible  and some darks.  Note that to get good signal you need longer exposures and a high iso.  It will all be a compromise so capture as much as you can when you can :)

Are you using a remote trigger to minimise camera shake?

Andy

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Yes, going by the color I would say you have it there in the lower left corner. Comet Lovejoy is mainly aqua green in color, with a faint white tail.

Here is a link to a handy chart that can help you easily locate the comet at different dates.

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/wp-content/uploads/Lovejoy2-1250px.gif

Regarding your question about stacking, I have used Deep Sky Stacker on all my deep sky photos, including mine of comet Lovejoy. I find that it can make quite a worthy difference in most of my images. You may find it useful to do this if you do not have a tracking mount, and are restricted to shorter exposures. You may also want to consider taking some dark frames to remove the noise, as you are probably shooting at your highest ISO to pick up as much detail as possible without trails.

Unfortunately I do not have my raw unstacked files for comet Lovejoy, but below are two pictures of the horsehead nebula, both taken on a tracking mount. One of them is the unstacked image, and the other is a stack of 68 images. As you can see it made quite a difference with this shot. As for comet Lovejoy, you won't need that many pictures as the comet is much brighter than the horsehead nebula.

Christopher

Hi Christopher,

Thanks for your reply. I gave it another shot last night, with better success. The exposure were very short, only around 6 seconds. As i was using 70mm ( x 1.5 / 600 ) 

I took 60 shots of the image below.  I have tried stacking in deep sky stacker, only using 20 or 30 the first few times. I don't seem to be getting great results. I have tried with various settings, but when i save the file to an image. The final result looks 'weaker' / duller than the image i see in deep sky stacker. Maybe i then need to be editing in photoshop?

You may find it easier to get focus by using Jupiter as a target and then switch to manual focus.

I would take as many pictures as possible  and some darks.  Note that to get good signal you need longer exposures and a high iso.  It will all be a compromise so capture as much as you can when you can :)

Are you using a remote trigger to minimise camera shake?

Andy

Hi Andy,

As i said to Christopher above, gave it another shot last night. I use a remote take the photos. Or timer now and again

Below is one of the unedited images that i took from a possible 60 i could/have tried using in deep sky stacker 

5evgb5.jpg

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