Well, we had a superb inaugural Flamsteed session at our new dark sky site at Chris’s house last night. Huge thanks to Chris for his wonderful hospitality.
Conditions weren’t very promising at the start of the evening, but the wind dropped, and the sky cleared beautifully, to give us one of the best observing sessions that we’ve had recently. Really good fun, and great company.
I’ve not had a huge amount of time to process the images that I took last night, but I have posted what been done so far on to Flickr. Some of the images need a but more work, but I’m pleased that I managed to pick up a double tail on the comet!
1 Constellation of Orion by MikeMey67[/url], on Flickr
2 M42 Orion Nebula by MikeMey67[/url], on Flickr
3 Comet 2014 Q2 Lovejoy by MikeMey67[/url], on Flickr
4 M45 Pleiades by MikeMey67[/url], on Flickr
All images taken with a Canon 60Da on an Astrotrak tracking mount.
I have to second Mikes comments. Our first official visit to East Sutton proved a great success with excellent conditions.
Having been ‘required’ to go into the West End with my wife on Saturday I had not had time to sort my kit out properly for the evening, so apologies to all for the assorted fairy lights I had running in my corner!
Unfortunately my guide software informed me it could not control the DEC axis on my mount so I was a little worried about polar drift as no real time was spent getting polar alignment perfect. Seemed to get away with it though.
I managed to get 60 frames of the Comet. However when I stacked these the Comets movement was so great compared to the background it became sausage shaped! Therefore I went with the last 30 frames taken at the end of the evening when conditions were the best.
Lovejoy 2014-Q2 flickr by astrograph ltd[/url], on Flickr
As this was my first proper attempt at a Comet image I am pleased I got quite a bit of the tail. I am sure someone more skilled with Photoshop could probably do a better job with the levels, but I am reasonably happy with the results. Need a bit more exposure next time I think.
What I was pretty disappointed with was my Sigma 120-300 F2.8 APO etc, etc camera lens. I had picked this up on ebay a few years back for £700. Its supposed to be about £2.5K new. Its fine during the day but at F4, one corner of the image suffered badly from coma and the rest of it from field curvature. Considering its supposed to be a full frame lens, seeing field curvature on an APS sensor is pretty poor. PS’s lens correction help a bit but overall I don’t think I will be using it again for Astrophotography!
So that is what it looks like! Great images guys.
Observing from Shooters Hill through binoculars all I could see of the comet was a faint, fuzzy blob. Only to be expected I suppose. Taking images at exposure times around 30secs at f/4 were washed out by light pollution confirming that East Sutton is indeed a good dark sky site.