Three Comets in the Morning Sky October 4, 2013

Uploaded 10/6/13

 There are currently three brighter comets to image and view in the early morning sky before sunup. All are faint as far as visual goes right now, however Encke and Ison are becoming brighter each week. The first up was comet Encke. Now in Auriga, this comet can be imaged for many hours as it passes through the zenith. High winds were howling through the trees on this morning, and it was difficult to get my 12 inch to stay still for an hour at a time. This shows up in the Encke image below as wavering star trails. This half an hour of short 1 minute exposures with my ST10XME CCD, which has a field around half a degree here. The comet started in the center when I began exposing, but soon moved to toward the edge of the field with its fast hourly movement!

The second comet here is Comet Lovejoy. Around 11th magnitude, it surprisingly has a short tail. It too as all comets do was slowly moving against the starry background during the exposure, but no where near as fast as Encke.

The third comet is ISON, on its way hopefully to become much brighter in the coming months. Now around 9.5 magnitude, this comet is starting to show some coloration as it starts to boil off the volitiles. Its moving pretty fast too, and will be rapidly accelerating as it comes in.

2P/Comet Encke 27 x 1min exposures Very nice fan in a dim tail, and some hints of a nucleus on the right side. The wind made a mess of the stars, but the comets details are good! Select an image size for a larger view: 1290 x 960 1600 x 1200
C/2013 R1 Comet Lovejoy 6x5m Exposures A short stubby tail points to the upper right here. Select an image size for a larger view: 1290 x 960 1600 x 1200
C/2012 S1 Comet ISON A series of 5 min exposures totaling 1h 15m Here the wind was much calmer, and I was able to get really great clean star trails and a sharp clean head. As you can see, the comet is much brighter now. I was just barely able to glimpse it with the 8 x 50 finder as a dim streak. Select an image size for a larger view: 1290 x 960 1600 x 1200
Lens: 12.5" f/5 Home built Newtonian Platform: Astrophysics AP1200 Exposure: See above Location: Payson, Arizona Elevation: 5150 ft. Sky: Seeing 3/10, Transparency 8/10 Outside Temperature: 40F Processing Tools: Maxim DL, Photoshop CS2 HOME GALAXIES EMISSION NEBS REFLECTION NEBS COMETS GLOBULARS OPEN CLUST PLANETARIES LINKS