Comet 168p Hergenrother and Halloween

On the 12th of this month Comet 168p Hergenrother came very close to us and was quite bright so I decided to image it. The comet was roughly between alpha (Alpheratz) and beta Pegasi (Scheat), about 25% from alpha to beta and is approximately the distance from Earth as Mars.

Path of Comet 168p Hergenrother There are two basic ways to image comets, the first is track the stars so that the comet  streaks across the image:

Comet 168p Hergenrother The second method stacks the images so that the comet appears to sit still as the stars streak across the sky:

Comet 168p Hergenrother alternate image type Either way (or through the 11inch SCT we viewed it through) Comet 168p Hergenrother was an impressive sight. If you haven’t seen a comet, you really should track one down.

More information on Comet 168p is available on Wikipedia.

On a different note, Halloween is almost upon us so it is only fitting we have a spooky target. I picked IC2118, the Witch Head nebula just above Orion. I shot this target a while back and failed miserably, so much so I deleted all the files which is unusual for me. This time is not fantastic, but at least it is clearly obvious what the target is 🙂

Witch Head Nebula

This target is a very faint reflection nebula. This means the glowing gas that you see in the image is actually light from nearby stars reflecting off the nebula. It does not emit any light at all.

Another problem is that this nebula is right next to Rigel, a very bright supergiant star. This makes it very difficult to image, at least for me. Think about reading a newspaper at night taped to the front bumper of your car while the headlights are on shining in your face. That should give you a pretty good idea.

Hope you enjoyed the Witch and Hergenrother, Happy Halloween!

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One Comment

  1. Great Witch Head. That was a booger for me to capture too. 3 hours of 10 minute subs and I think I still needed more. Plus with my 80mm EON at 500mm/FL I could not capture the entire head. Need to get a 50mm lens for my T2i and do it again sometime in the future along with Rigel.

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