17P / Holmes – November 19, 2007

My Comet Holmes sleep deficit has been hard to overcome. I’m a little bummed that I haven’t been able to keep sketching its progress over the last week or so as it’s grown larger than the sun. I’ve really wanted to get some photographs of it now that it’s large enough for my meager camera lenses to resolve decently. Below is a preliminary image that I shot from my back yard Sunday night (Nov 18/19) after the moon had set. I haven’t run dark or flat frames on it, but it’s fairly clean to begin with. Anyway, the raw files from my camera showed a greenish blue tint to the coma and I’ve tried to maintain that with the limited processing I performed. I’ll do a cleaner version when I get a chance. This is a stack of three 7-minute exposures with my camera piggy-backed on the SkyView Pro mount.

Through binoculars, the comet appears much fainter now that it is spread out so wide. Although it’s going to keep getting fainter, I think it’s going to become a fascinating, faint but HUGE smear as it continues to loop through Perseus. I think this will make for some really amazing wide-field photos…and hopefully dark-sky binocular sketches.

2 Replies to “17P / Holmes – November 19, 2007”

  1. Jeremy:
    That’s a beautiful image of 17P/Holmes. One of the nicest I have seen. You should be really pleased with it.
    I’ve been keeping an eye on the comet, mostly with binoculars from my backyard. I did make it down to the club dark sky site a few weeks ago with an observing buddy and we had a long look at the comet with my 22-inch Dob. My friend said it looked like a celestial jellyfish, which is a pretty apt description of what we were seeing. The “top” edge (E?), which was more sharply defined, seemed to have little hair-like fractures extending inward a short distance.

  2. Hi Fiske, thanks for the compliment! My only means of getting halfway decent astro photos is to take wide piggyback shots. So it was great to have the comet expand so large that wide field images actually portrayed it well.
    I also noticed some slight scalloping of the sharper edge during a few observations. What a treat!

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