C2013/R1 (Comet Lovejoy)

Blog the previous nights viewing. Link to images on the gallery or simply describe what you observed the night before. Leave the technical and howto in another forum.
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Location: Bury

C2013/R1 (Comet Lovejoy)

#1 Post by cstone » Sat Dec 21, 2013 4:28 pm

C2013/R1 (Comet Lovejoy) – Thursday 19th December – 6am

I checked the weather on the Wednesday night and even though the following morning it was set to be intermittent cloud there was no rain forecast. So I decided it was worth waking up at 6am to take at least one snapshot of Comet Lovejoy 2013. So I set my alarm to 5:40am but was woken at 5:30 by the moon light flickering through the window. So I stuck my head out of the window and it was clear and thought this was it.

Out of the house into the observatory I began the procedure of starting an image run. Computer on... mount ready to go.... dew heaters warming..... . Roof open.... telescope dust cap off. When comet hunting with go-to mounts you have make sure you have up the most up-to date orbital elements but depending how good your go-to alignment is there can be an element of star hopping as well. I'd already added my alignment points a few weeks ago during a focus test so after I updated C2A with the orbital elements I decided to go straight to a nearby star. The mount came to life and slewed to the bright star that I selected and appeared in the camera’s live view. Instantly I decided to slew over to the comet. The mount slewed and when it stopped I took a single 40second snapshot. Low and behold there was a comet with a distinctive tail. :D But then it started to cloud over!!!! :roll:

Well at least I achieved my first goal, a single image of the comet. Gaps began to appear in the cloud and having come this far I might as well try get a few more images. So I was able to take 5 x 40 second snapshots over the course of 10 – 15 minutes after which the telescope was parked, dust cap back on, roof closed and everything turned off. At this point it was 6:45 but it started to clear around 7am, so I decided to retry to take an image but the computer/mount couldn't find the comet. For some reason the computer decided the comet was further south than original. So at this point I gave up and headed back to bed, puzzled as to what had caused my mis-alignment issue. :?

Later that evening (after returning home from a night out :lol: ) I tried to find the root cause of what happened in the morning. This is what I determined. The computer had lost its internet connection and wasn't updating the clock and was a few minutes out. Still investigating this problem, but because the time was wrong the position was wrong. So I've now added check computer time to my procedure above. It’s safe to say the scope has since re-aligned itself. It is also worth saying that even during cloudy skies, still worth testing/practising your set-up as it goes a long way to help understand your set-up for those clear nights.

This is the final processed Image. 5 x 40 seconds. Sure if I had clearer skies I could a done of a lot more.
Celestron 11" Telescope
Eq6 Pro Mount
Eq5 Mount
EQ Mod
QHY5 Guide camera
Cannon 1000D SLR Camera

I choose to image with an 11" SCT Celestron in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard......


Re: C2013/R1 (Comet Lovejoy)

#2 Post by dean_kos » Sat Dec 21, 2013 4:43 pm

Fantastic Carl well done ..... Can't wait for an observatory :-)

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Re: C2013/R1 (Comet Lovejoy)

#3 Post by rwilkinson » Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:16 pm

Well done Carl!
That's earned you the Early Bird award:

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