Comet Hartley 10.07.2001

Comet Hartley 2New image from Okie-Tex 2010: Comet Hartley and the Double Cluster. This picture from images collected Thursday night as the comet approached the cluster (click image for full size).

Visually observing the comet that night through binoculars and telescopes was nowhere near as interesting as the picture. My eyes were seeing a faint gray smudge lost in a sea of stars. Unfortunately this comet never got as bright as they initially predicted.

Its been a struggle to get a reasonable picture out of the images I took that night. The comet moved very fast relative to the stars which led to smearing. This is easily seen looking at one of the raw images:

Click the image on the left for a full size crop of one single exposure, two and a half minutes in duration. Note how the comet leaves a small streak rather than a sharp image. For my skills this has presented a problem in combining the multiple exposures into one picture. So I ended up with a ill-defined and smeared comet. I’ll keep working on it though.