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Moon Straight Wall and Mountain Shadows,
Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) Motion

Posted: 30 December 2014

Open: Monday, 29 December 2014, 1823 MST
Temperature: 49°F
Session: 761
Conditions: Clear

1830 MST: viewed the moon, 83X. Then switched to the Explore Scientific 2" 9mm 100° eyepiece (222X). Some nice views of our moon. Added the TeleVue PowerMate 2X Barlow Lens, yielding 444X. Seeing was not quite good enough for that much magnification, but there was still occasional good views.

Switched to a 1.25" 26mm eyepiece (77X) on the iPhone afocal adapter and took this iPhone 5s photo of the moon, iOS Camera app, earbuds used as a remote shutter release:

Click or tap on image for larger version (1.5MB)

Added the PowerMate 2X Barlow Lens (154X) and applied some digital zoom for this (cropped) image of the Straight Wall (below center) and some nice mountain shadows (above center):


1856 MST: resumed lunar observing, 222X. Seeing was getting worse.

1920 MST: viewed the planets Neptune, Mars, and Uranus, 222X. Neptune and Mars were too low for good viewing, but Uranus showed a nice disk.

1924 MST: slewed to Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy), which had just risen above the hill to the southeast. Its large coma appeared bright at 83X. Switched to 222X to monitor its motion. No stars were close to the comet in the eyepiece but motion was apparent after about five minutes. 1955 MST: with the comet now a little higher in the sky, switched back to 83X. Nice view of the comet coma.

2000-2029 MST: took a "warm up" break while waiting for Comet Lovejoy to rise higher. Temperature was 42°F.

Upon return to the observatory, the comet was high enough to do some imaging to show its motion. Mounted the D7000 DSLR at prime focus of the 8" LX200-ACF. Did a focus test on the star Rigel using the Bahtinov Mask.

2045-2115 MST: imaged the comet every 5 minutes using 30 second, ISO 4000, exposures. This is the first exposure (cropped):


During post-processing I combined the seven images into an animation:

Mouseover or tap on image
Mouseover or tap to see animation

While I was doing the comet imaging, the comet was just barely visible using the naked eye. The bright moonlit sky hampered naked eye visibility.

2120 MST: took a final look at Comet Lovejoy, 83X.

Close: Monday, 29 December 2014, 2128 MST
Temperature: 42°F

I have posted a short animated version of last night's Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) passing M79 (globular cluster). The images were with different exposures.

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