Comet ISON time lapse video, Take 2

November 8th, 2013 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

My second attempt at a time lapse video of Comet ISON, this time from a dark sky location on a mountaintop near New Market, Alabama, morning of Nov. 8, 2013.

I’m learning how frustrating astrophotography with a telephoto lens can be. This time I learned the hard way: double-check the focus!! Focusing on stars with a telephoto lens is difficult, especially when working at 400 mm focal length. This video would have been so much better with crisp focus, I could have zoomed in considerably through cropping.

I will try again in a few days, weather permitting, before the pre-dawn sky gets too bright. Maybe ISON will also brighten in the meantime. (After the video loads, it should loop by itself):

24 Responses to “Comet ISON time lapse video, Take 2”

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  1. Norman says:

    The small stars are fuzzy but I think the comet was well done. Is it blue or is that filming?

    It is neat to watch the comet move across the sky. Thanks.

    • Roy Spencer says:

      The comet is green, all of the people take pics are seeing it that way. I normalize the background RGB histograms so the sky is relatively colorless (when dark, but there is still reflected mainly-tungsten light from towns), and the green color of the comet remains.

      • JohnKl says:

        Given the green color, what do you make of the comet’s composition?

        • JohnKl says:

          Others have claimed that the material spewing from the comet’s nucleus may include cyanogen (CN a gas found in many comets) and diatomic carbon (C2). Both substances glow green when solar illuminated in the near-vacuum of space. Question: What percentage of observed comets glow green?

  2. pkasse says:

    At approx. the 1 sec. mark of the video, you have apparently caught a pair of UFOs flying in formation. They seem to be communicating with some sort of red-green blinking code. 😉

  3. Yes, Dr. Spencer, focusing is one of the challenges in astrophotography. With a long lens, or an even longer telescope, it is difficult enough to require the use of focusing accessories, like a magnifier for the camera viewfinder and/or special front end masks that cause diffraction patterns to appear and guide you to the best focus.
    Auto-focus SLR cameras with long lenses can be useless unless this feature can be turned off.

    • Roy Spencer says:

      There are just so many things to rememeber…it took me almost 45 min just to find the comet this time. Next time I will have pre-focused the lens on the moon and marked the location for optimum infinity focus. I won’t make this mistake again…next time it will be a different mistake.

  4. Nabil Swedan says:

    Dr. Spencer, Will temperature trend through October be posted on your website?

  5. JohnKl says:

    Thank you for the exceptional astrophotography Roy!

    Marvel comics didn’t put you up to this I hope. Please don’t tell us it’s the Green Lantern or Goblin. I am curious as to what the image quality would be like if photographed from the Hubble telescope. How much greater clarity and definition could be obtained? BTW what name if any has been given to the comet?

  6. geran says:

    It looks to be about the middle of constellation Virgo, or are the stars deceiving me?

  7. Dear Roy,

    I am waiting for the October UAH temperature data of the earth. Is the temperature since September going further up? You may not like that -like me, but please instead of spending your time with comet movies, most of your fans are waiting for new temperature data.

    Otherwise thak you very much for your effort over the years

    yours Dieter Hovestadt

  8. Neal Kaye says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    Very interesting video. What period of real-time does the elapsed time on your video cover?


  9. lemiere jacques says:

    the comet is green! my lord it is a sign , we need to turn green too.

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