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Comet 2017 S3 (PanSTARRS)

Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:41 am
by rwilkinson
After a year since there was last a moderately bright comet in our sky, at last I have a "new" target. This comet has brightened up to 8th magnitude in the last month, and after waiting several days for some clear skies in New Mexico, I finally got my first image of it earlier this week:
Comet 2017 S3 on 18-Jul. 3x 170-sec with 250mm f/3.4
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Seeing how bright it was, I knew that I ought to be able to get it from Bolton too. But it's low down in the North (only about 20 degrees above the horizon around midnight), and in a part of the sky which is screened from my garden by trees. However I reckoned that I could still catch it from an upstairs window, so I set up my imaging system on the windowsill:
A Pentax 200mm f/5.6 lens fitted to my Starlight-Xpress Hx916 camera on a home-made EQ tracking mount
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Last night, even with the twilight and glow from the Moon, I coiuld just see the star Mirfak just above the tree-line around 11:30pm. Star-hopping from this, I managed to get the camera aimed at the comet's position and could then see a "faint fuzzy" on my 15-sec images. So I left it running either side of midnight, and collected a series of twenty 90-sec exposures:
Comet 2017 S3 from Bolton on 20-Jul. 20x 90-sec with 200mm lens on Hx916
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