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Comet Lovejoy

Submitter: Albert van Duin
Description: Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) was discovered by amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy on August 17 2014 with a 20cm Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope from Australia.

The last few months this comet has been a nice photographic object, even visible to the unaided eye from a dark location. Due to the cloudy spell we had here the last few months, there were not many opportunities to image this comet. On the 17th of February however, the weather was favorable, a clear sky and little moisture in the air.

So I took the prototype Lynx Astrograph, designed and built by optical designer Rik ter Horst (NOVA-ASTRON), to a dark location near Beilen and exposed 19 images of 60 seconds each at 1600 ISO, with a modified Canon 5D Mk2 and the 280mm F/2.5 (735mm focal lenght) astrograph.

Due to the winsorized sigma clipping combination of the 19 images, and the fact that the position of the comet between the stars is different on every image, the stars look a bit strange after stacking. A different processing method should produce an image with sharp stars as well as a sharp comet, but that will take some time.

This comet is now moving away from us, but it will return in about 11000 years.
Copyright: Albert van Duin
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