Comet Lovejoy Time Lapse Video

January 22nd, 2015 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Despite moderate light pollution here in Huntsville, Alabama, I was able to capture 1.9 hours of camera frames to make this time lapse video of Comet Lovejoy last evening. Some thin cirrus clouds and various satellites also pass by. The faint tail extends to the left of the nucleus, and if you watch closely you can see the comet traveling relative to the stars immediately surrounding it:

Constructed from 480 10-sec exposures taken every 14 sec. taken with a Canon 6D, Canon 85mm f/1.2 lens wide open, ISO 400, using an AstroTrac to roughly track the stars. Best viewed full-screen.

7 Responses to “Comet Lovejoy Time Lapse Video”

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  1. jimc says:

    Nice. No image rotation in such a long run. You must have a polar mount.

    • Roy Spencer says:

      Yes, I use a Manfretto geared head on my tripod, set to my latitude and pointed north with a regular compass. The AstroTrac between the geared head and the camera then provides the tracking. Haven’t had much luck fine-tuning the polar alignment with the scope provided with the AstroTrac, which then leads to the residual drift.

      • jimc says:

        I guessed about 8 deg of FOV (one half of 16 (by 24) deg for that lens) drift in 140 deg of earth rotation. Close except for very long exposures and high magnification (which you donít seem to need).

  2. Travis Casey says:

    Dr. Spencer, Is the comet the bright green object that is seen? Nice job on the use of the AstroTrac.

  3. Thanks Dr. Spencer.
    Yes, faint indeed. More detail would be available using a much longer lens, like a telescope.
    But then proper polar alignment and guiding on the comet itself would be required.

  4. Adrian Voran says:

    Good info. Lucky me I recently found your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I’ve saved it for later!

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