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Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard)


Southern Storm
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Posted
  • Location: Christchurch, Dorset
  • Weather Preferences: Extreme weather what else!
  • Location: Christchurch, Dorset

    Hello fellow comet enthusiast.

    To anyone who finds comets interesting, there is a reasonable chance that we may have a comet that will be viewable to the naked eye over the next couple of weeks.

    Obviously comets are very unpredictable in their viewable characteristics, but we do appear to stand a good chance of comet Leonard putting on a show.

    I'll definitely be on the lookout and will post any pictures I manage to capture, weather and magnitude permitting!

     

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/C/2021_A1_(Leonard)

    Edited by Southern Storm
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    Posted
  • Location: Christchurch, Dorset
  • Weather Preferences: Extreme weather what else!
  • Location: Christchurch, Dorset

    Update on comet Leonard 

    I decided to set the alarm as we have perfectly clear skies here this morning, plus it might be the last chance I get for a few days, as the weather looks to turn more unsettled.

    Comet Leonard Is currently at around +6/7 magnitude atm, so unless you have super eyesight, it is definitely only viewable with optical aids.

    I was able to locate the comet by honing in on it, taking a few long exposures, searching the captured image on the back of the camera, and repositioning the camera

    This was a little tricky, as it's so difficult to see, but it was definitely rewarding to find it and was well worth setting the alarm for!

    The picture below was taken at 105mm f4, at around 5 second exposure time and cropped in further.

    hopefully I will get another chance before it dives towards the the horizon on it's  journey around the Sun, and maybe also brightens a little more.

    Finally, just to add, and not to get hopes up too high.

    I don't expect this comet to brighten in the same way that last year's comet Neowise did,  it is going to get more and more difficult to see Leonard as it moves closer to the sun and  progressively gets lower on the horizon, but the 10th to the 17th seem to be the sweet spot.

    so we have a very short window to get out and see it before it's gone for good.

    20211202035654_IMG_7016-01~2.jpeg

    20211202035501_IMG_7013-01.jpeg

    Edited by Southern Storm
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    Posted
  • Location: Christchurch, Dorset
  • Weather Preferences: Extreme weather what else!
  • Location: Christchurch, Dorset
    On 03/12/2021 at 20:29, Sprites said:

    On November 25th we had clear skies and a bright moon. I was able to get this shot from the garden. 

    I used a Pentax k70 and 55-300mm zoom. 

    2070741949_Leonard.jpg.c42037cc7935cca7ab5e95ed2f3b814c(1).thumb.jpg.d591dbfc8ad415f9271b822c0ddc7973.jpg

    That is a cracking photo! You even managed to capture a Galaxy or two.

    Did you use a star tracker to capture the comet?  

    I really struggled to capture anything decent, as the lens I used only goes down to f4, really hoping for some clear skies around the 10th

     

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    Posted
  • Location: west suffolk 12 metres asl
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms/squalls/hoar-frost/misty sunrises/
  • Location: west suffolk 12 metres asl
    2 hours ago, Southern Storm said:

    That is a cracking photo! You even managed to capture a Galaxy or two.

    Did you use a star tracker to capture the comet?  

    I really struggled to capture anything decent, as the lens I used only goes down to f4, really hoping for some clear skies around the 10th

     

    Hi 

    That's the whale, and hockey stick galaxies.

    I used an Astrotracer GPS that fits on the camera hotshoe. It's only compatible with Pentax DSLR cameras. It can be a bit hit n miss, and relies on GPS to move the camera sensor. I got 20 sec ondexp at 300mm without much trailing. Then I stacked 12 exposures in deepskystacker. As long as the stars are in focus it usually stacks the photos ok.  It's a  free download , and there are lots of info on YouTube about it. You can stack short exposures of a few seconds, but you would need several to get the exposure time.

    On Thursday I tried again to photo the comet, the Astrotracer was playing up. I ended up so cold I was shaking too much to focus my lens. I did question my sanity , on the plus side I saw a few bright meteors, and 3 flashes of lightning in the North sea.

    Edited by Sprites
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    Posted
  • Location: Christchurch, Dorset
  • Weather Preferences: Extreme weather what else!
  • Location: Christchurch, Dorset
    On 03/12/2021 at 23:29, Sprites said:

    Hi 

    That's the whale, and hockey stick galaxies.

    I used an Astrotracer GPS that fits on the camera hotshoe. It's only compatible with Pentax DSLR cameras. It can be a bit hit n miss, and relies on GPS to move the camera sensor. I got 20 sec ondexp at 300mm without much trailing. Then I stacked 12 exposures in deepskystacker. As long as the stars are in focus it usually stacks the photos ok.  It's a  free download , and there are lots of info on YouTube about it. You can stack short exposures of a few seconds, but you would need several to get the exposure time.

    On Thursday I tried again to photo the comet, the Astrotracer was playing up. I ended up so cold I was shaking too much to focus my lens. I did question my sanity , on the plus side I saw a few bright meteors, and 3 flashes of lightning in the North sea.

    I had no idea that sensor tracking was a thing, that's pretty cool!

    Yeah it definitely is hard operating a camera with Frozen hands, I was struggling the other night and it wasn't even that cold 

    Early hours of Sunday morning are looking promising weather wise, so I'll be giving it another shot, hopefully the comet will have brightened a little more by then as well as being a lot closer.

    Good luck if you get out again.

    Edited by Southern Storm
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    Posted
  • Location: west suffolk 12 metres asl
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms/squalls/hoar-frost/misty sunrises/
  • Location: west suffolk 12 metres asl

    I would try 3 second exposures to stop the star trails. And then you could try stacking them, I did this before I got the Astrotracer, and I stacked about 80 shots.  

    My zoom lens is f4 max, but at 300mm it's f5.8. I've used my f2.8 90mm macro lens before, it does a good job stopped down to f3.2. 

    One thing about using 300mm is the wind can ruin your shots, it shakes the lens as I found out on Thursday.

    Edited by Sprites
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    Posted
  • Location: Christchurch, Dorset
  • Weather Preferences: Extreme weather what else!
  • Location: Christchurch, Dorset

    Yeah sounds like a good idea.

    I did try stacking Neowise last year, but it didn't turn out too well as it moved a noticable amount in relation to the background stars, even when shooting for only about 1 hour!

    it ended up looking soft/smudged when the software had finished processing the images, and I believe Leonard is moving even faster than Neowise was, so I think the stacking software will be next to useless in this scenario.

    I have actually been researching how to build a barn door astro tracker (yes I'm a cheapo ) we'll see how that goes!

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    Posted
  • Location: Christchurch, Dorset
  • Weather Preferences: Extreme weather what else!
  • Location: Christchurch, Dorset
    On 07/12/2021 at 07:06, Jamie M said:

    I got it. My lack of good sleep left me enough time to nab some shots of it. 

    58 x ISO 800 10 second exposures at f/4 at 70 mm for the stacked shot below:

    comet.thumb.jpg.9cf14bd324e298305f5341a793ff1f16.jpg

    And a shot of me finally finding it at ISO 3200 at 135 mm, f4.2 and 10 seconds.

    DSC_0007.thumb.JPG.92649ae701b63a5861391c9624c9ad7b.JPG

    Nice capture bud!

    Unfortunately the weather gods have not been kind, and I haven't been able to see anything for days now.

    I decided to go to bed early last night so I could be up for what will likely be one of the last decent opportunities to get a look at Leonard.

    Google weather was showing a totally clear weather symbol under current conditions, so I got out of my nice warm bed (without looking out of the window) got everything ready! Only to find out it is cloudy

    Leonard is roughly at it closest distance to earth now, so I hope others got/get better conditions than I have been getting.

    Tomorrow morning is also looking potentially clear, so I will give it one last try, but I'll have to travel a little now as it's getting quite low in the sky! fingers crossed and good luck to anyone trying to view this Comet.

    Edit

    Though I would check the skies before finally calling it quits, and managed to find a brief clear spell

    So the comet has brightened a little by what I can tell, but conditions here are not great at all, high cloud, and the street lights have come back on.

    I'll be heading to a dark sky location tomorrow if it is clear, it will be interesting to see what difference it makes.

    Also looking at the last two pictures, you can see how fast Leonard is moving

     if you look closely at the nucleus of the comet, there is a stat close to it, and you can see their position change in relation to one another and they were taken on only 12 minutes apart! 

    Very cool.

     

     

     

    20211209061053_IMG_7041-01.jpeg

    20211209061116_IMG_7042~2.JPG

    Screenshot_20211209-064547.png

    Screenshot_20211209-064528.png

    Edited by Southern Storm
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    Posted
  • Location: Herne Bay, Kent (14 m)
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms & Snow
  • Location: Herne Bay, Kent (14 m)

    I have a feeling the shots I've got will sadly be the last ones I'll get of the comet but not a bad target I suppose.

    Run through of the frames used to stack below.

     

     

     

     

    Edited by Jamie M
    Replacing .MPEG with .MP4
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    Posted
  • Location: west suffolk 12 metres asl
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms/squalls/hoar-frost/misty sunrises/
  • Location: west suffolk 12 metres asl

    Early last Wednesday I got a few more shots of Leonard, saw some Geminids too. I was able to see the comet with binoculars, it's just a small fuzzy patch.

    Not sure if this rain will clear in time for me to get a look later, but as others mentioned it's brighter, but closer to the horizon now.  

    https://en.sat24.com/en/gb

    Edited by Sprites
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    Posted
  • Location: Christchurch, Dorset
  • Weather Preferences: Extreme weather what else!
  • Location: Christchurch, Dorset
    On 10/12/2021 at 00:56, Sprites said:

    Early last Wednesday I got a few more shots of Leonard, saw some Geminids too. I was able to see the comet with binoculars, it's just a small fuzzy patch.

    Not sure if this rain will clear in time for me to get a look later, but as others mentioned it's brighter, but closer to the horizon now.  

    https://en.sat24.com/en/gb

    I did go out this morning as it was clear, but also too windy to get any decent shots.

    As much as I tried, I couldn't locate the  Comet.

    Has anyone else managed to get a glimpse of it this morning? 

    I hope it hasn't disintegrated, as it's getting relatively close to the sun now.

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    Posted
  • Location: west suffolk 12 metres asl
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms/squalls/hoar-frost/misty sunrises/
  • Location: west suffolk 12 metres asl

    Haven't tried as it was cloudy,It's quite low now I may try tmrw morning, need a clear eastern horizon about 5.30am. 

     

    Edited by Sprites
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    Posted
  • Location: Herne Bay, Kent (14 m)
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms & Snow
  • Location: Herne Bay, Kent (14 m)

    Just been knocking about outside, cloud moved in a lot quicker than forecast I thought.

    It's definitely got a tad brighter on the camera but still can't see it from my eye.

    I have a few shots to muck about with stack but here's one from the back of the cam just before cloud blocked it.

    Few meteors knocking about too!

    image.thumb.png.a933ea36dc0656d4f62a2bb8db9ce808.png

     

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    Posted
  • Location: Herne Bay, Kent (14 m)
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms & Snow
  • Location: Herne Bay, Kent (14 m)

    Noisy stack this morning but not too shabby, all frames untracked.

    126 seconds (42 x iso 12800 f/4.8 3 second exposures at 195 mm)

    leonard3.thumb.png.7672623039847bdf74668820e4ee4726.png

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    Posted
  • Location: west suffolk 12 metres asl
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms/squalls/hoar-frost/misty sunrises/
  • Location: west suffolk 12 metres asl

    I planned to go out about 4am, so held off  taking shots of Orion from home, looking for Geminids. I didn't see any Geminids. Then decided to go out at 5am.  

    Got a couple of widefield shots, but cloud arrived at 5.30am.

    Should of gone out at 4am....

    Edited by Sprites
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    • 4 weeks later...
    Posted
  • Location: Christchurch, Dorset
  • Weather Preferences: Extreme weather what else!
  • Location: Christchurch, Dorset
    Posted (edited)
    APOD.NASA.GOV

    A different astronomy and space science related image is featured each day, along with a brief explanation.

    Though I would post this link, it's amazing how long the tail is on this comet 

     

     

    I'm glad that some enthusiasts managed to get some decent shots, as I really struggled when it was close to the horizon.

    And this is what it looks like close up

    Stunningly beautiful!

     

    comet-leonard-by-andrew-mccarthy-800x800.webp

    comet-leonard-by-andrew-mccarthy-feat.jp
    PETAPIXEL.COM

    Photographer Andrew McCarthy captured incredible close-up photos of Comet Leonard from his backyard in Arizona,

     

    LeonardTail_Hattenbach_1600.jpg

    Edited by Southern Storm
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