Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Comet 17P/Holmes ... First Sighting!

On Saturday, November 3rd, I had a chance to scan the heavens with my ETX-125EC.

Using the Electronic Controller to guide the scope manually, I took a tour of The Pleiades (M45). The open star cluster was breathtaking, as always. Since the night was dark and humidity low, I navigated my way to what I thought was the Andromeda Galaxy (M31).

But this fuzzy spot didn't look eliptical and was much brighter than my previous observations of M31. Hmmmmm!

I piggy-backed my Nikon D80 on the ETX-125 and took several long exposures of that region of sky using a 50mm f/1.8 lens.

The next work day I showed the exposures to a fellow backyard astronomer. He too was baffled why I was only seeing the core of M31 and not the entire elliptical starfield. We discussed different ways to set the camera to get additional shots.

Later that day I received an email from my oldest daughter that featured a Yahoo story on Comet 17P/Holmes, which had recently erupted. Amateur astronomers observed the comet changing from Magnitude-15 to Magnitude-2 in less than an hour. WOW!!!

One glance at the picture in the story told me I had photographed 17P/Holmes without realizing.

Following are a few pictures of comet 17P/Holmes taken from my 'light polluted' front yard in Northern Virginia.

Hope you enjoy the pictures. Later this week I'm going to attempt to track the comet and take some prime focus pictures. That should be fun.


Wide Fleid View of Comet 17p/Holmes

Cropped Image of Comet 17P/Holmes

Super Cropped image of Comet 17P/Holmes

1 comment:

Jacki said...

Cool! Have you seen Peters yet? He posted his on:


and I wrote about it on mine: