Brightest Comet in the Sky – Don’t Miss It!


Dennis Persyk <dpersyk@...>
 

C/2007 E2 (Lovejoy) is nearing its peak on light curve – see
http://www.aerith.net/comet/catalog/2007E2/2007E2.html

This is presently the brightest comet in the sky (save for a few
lucky souls near the equator who might still be able to view
2P/Encke). Better grab a view or an image now, before it fades into
oblivion.

It is racing though Aquila at 8.8 arc seconds per minute at
magnitude ~ 7.6. I was limited to 30 second exposures when I imaged
it to avoid blur.

I "think" I saw (using averted vision and averted imagination) the
comet in my 4-inch refractor piggybacked on the 6-inch E-160 f/3.3
astrograph. I synthesized a simulated eyepiece view for my web page
linked below.

I was baffled for quite a while looking for the "missing star", V606
Aquilae, that was depicted prominently in my SkyMap Pro screen shot
as being very bright but was missing in my image – even though all
the other stars were right where they should be. How could I not
image a bright star??? The mystery (for those that haven't figured
it out yet) is solved on the web page.

Let me know what you think of the movie. It really was hard for me
to get the hour's worth of frames to look about the same. The comet
was rising in the sky (and thus getting brighter as the atmospheric
extinction was decreasing); at the same time, the sun was rising, so
the sky glow was increasing. Balancing the two effects to achieve
consistent histograms drove me nuts! I've probably invested ten
hours in image processing and composing the web page.

Images, associated data, eyepiece view, imaging notes and *movie*
all at
http://home.att.net/~dpersyk/new.htm

Please take a look and give me some feedback. This was quite a
processing challenge for me. Thank you for visiting my site.

Clear skies,

Dennis Persyk
Igloo Observatory Home Page http://dpersyk.home.att.net
Hampshire, IL