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11/30/-1
    
Saturday, February 28th, 2009
Hmmm... this hobby in the northwest is umm... unpredictable. At 6pm I noticed that the sky was completely cloudy after a forecast of clear. I was heading to band practice while thinking of my local astronomy club members and how they wouldn't get a chance to observe. Around 9pm I looked outside and it was clear as a bell. Not a cloud in the sky. So I told the band that I wanted to observe after practice and was excited that the sky cleared.

By the time I got home at 10:30pm the sky was so hazy with thin clouds only a few of the brightest stars were visible.

At 12:30am I was heading to bed and noticed that the sky was completely clear again. So I broke out my gear. It took 45 minutes to get the imaging setup from the garage to an open shutter. By the time I was ready to shoot something the entire sky was cloudy again! Sheesh... this is crazy!

I thought about breaking down the gear, but I knew that if I did, the sky would open up again. So I decided to hold out for a bit and within 20 minutes the sky started to clear and within 30 minutes it was completely clear.

I turned the scope to comet Lulin. I shot a comet 2 years ago, but it didn't work out, so I was hoping this one would.

Well, shooting through Portland made a pretty nasty gradient in the image that was tricky to process (and you can see that the background is not very flat) but overall I'm happy with the image.

The bright star on the right side is Nu Leonis. I don't know what the handful of small galaxies are in the view - PGC's and UGC's no doubt as they don't appear to be in the NGC catalog. There is a small edge on spiral galaxy about a third of the way down the tail from the nucleus.

Comet Lulin
Scope: Vixen R200SS 200mm @ f/4 w/Baader MPCC
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Camera: Canon EOS 20D (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 31 minutes - (8 x 120s, 5 x 180s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image


Image Gallery For This Session
Comet Lulin 31m StarCometStack Comet Lulin 31m
   

Comet-Lulin-31m-StarCometStack.jpg
Click picture above for larger version
If the picture seems too bright or too dark, try adjusting the brightness below.
Brightness:
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Comments:
On 03/01/09 at 09:33pm Jeff wrote:
Wow Neil, thats a great comet shot. Those are really hard because they dont move at sidereal rate. You did a great job capturing this image. Congrats.

Jeff

On 02/28/09 at 05:48pm Barry wrote:
Good Job, Neil. It doesn't look like this in the eyepiece. Not anywhere close.

Amazing the speed with which the clouds come and go. What, we don't deserve a whole clear night once in a while?

On 02/28/09 at 11:55am Courtney Snailum wrote:
This is so cool. I'm glad you waited out the clouds so you could share this with us.



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