Friday, February 20, 2009

Comet Lulin seen from Renton

Finally got my first image of C/2009 N3 (or better known as "Lulin") last night. It was high enough to just clear the wall of the observatory when I found it. It wasn't much to see in the eyepiece, just a very faint blob that could only be seen with averted vision. I was almost wondering if I had a galaxy instead, but then saw it was moving fast. Yep, Lulin has been found!
I tracked it with the scope guiding on the nucleus of the comet so I could get a good image of he comet itself. The stars are trailing not from the Earth's rotation, but the comet's fast movement. This image was taken over about a 40 minute time period. The tail can be seen faintly off to the left of the comet.
Again, the best night to see this fuzzy guy will be on the 24th, but I'm not confident about the forecast (Scott Sistek, are you reading this?). ;-)
I should have possibly another good night tonight before the clouds come back this weekend, so I'll see what happens. (Click on the image to see it in full size)
Also tried another target that I have yet to get a really good image of (the Crab Nebula - or M1). I think our scope has some problem autoguiding this part of sky since the stars always end up slightly 'Twinkie' shaped due to the back and forth motion of the autoguider. Argh! Still working on that....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on finding an opening for Lulin's shot. Nice habing Swift's version, and funny to think all that red and blue is billowing around the comet.