Last couple of days I was trying to spot comet Pan-starrs (C/2011 L4) with bare eyes or through binocular But after looking at images from other amateur astronomers realized that this object is going to show only in photographs.
There was once upon a time that I used to eat, drink, sleep and live astronomy. But gone are the days when I remained awake for countless nights under the starry sky. Though regular sky watch sessions are things of past, but astronomy still runs through my veins and I try to look up at the stars whenever I get a chance. And today I got that chance. I must thank to one of my astronomy friend who lives in Bangalore city and was trying to chance the comet from his place.
From tomorrow onwards my shifts were changing so I had only today’s evening. And I decided to chance upon it. Day before yesterday I bought a pair of binocular. Its not a good lens, so my game plan was to try spot the comet and if not successful return it to its vendor hoping that somehow I will convince him to take them back and return my money.
Nevertheless things worked in perfect order which is actually very rare in my case. I re-downloaded my favourite astronomy software which I had stopped using. Made a proper sky chart for today’s evening and printed it. Made a list of things to carry in my backpack. Wrote down aperture, ISO and shutter speed combinations that I would use while taking images. All of these preparations made me remember those golden days when I was doing regular observations. If that time I had owned a blog it would certainly be named as ‘mayur hulsar astronomy’ 😀
Any-ways, coming back to main story I found that it is actually difficult to spot the comet visually and even with binoculars. My only chance was to wait till it becomes a bit more dark and take longer exposures. In one such exposed image of about 4 sec I zoomed into the frame. And to my amazement comet pan starrs stood right there as if it was waiting to be found by someone.
After working in an office shift, coming back to home and then again going for comet hunting, all this had made me very tired. But this tiredness vanished as soon as I spotted the comet thorough my camera.
I took many images using my 50mm lens, heres showing the best. First image is the original with very less post processing, rest two are just zoomed (cropped) version of the first one.
If you can see the comet (its at the centre just above the haze) in the first picture, then consider that this is how it would be actually visible to the naked eye if only it would had brighter by few numbers. Since 50mm lens gives almost the same field of view as our eyes do.
If time permits will try to shoot more of this comet in coming evenings.
Do let me know about your queries, opinions and feedback, it means a lot to me.
Will meet soon, till then do take care, Bye.
Shot with Canon 500D, 50mm, ISO 400, f/4, 8 sec