After getting clouded out, a few more nights pass until *finally* a clear night. In fact, I had a run of nights….Thursday night out in the yard, Friday and Saturday night star parties, and then Sunday. Thursday night I almost didn’t do, because it was supposed to be clear Friday and Saturday nights. Theoretically I could have come home from star parties and set up in the yard for the rest of the night. Still, we’ve had so few good nights this year, so I went out.
I was not disappointed. A good night! And finally, ISON in the view. Comet Lovejoy was easier, found it and got some frames. Then I had to wait, ISON was skimming upward right at the edge of the trees….arrrgh! But finally it got out, I found it and got a few frames. At least I could say I *had* seen it!!!!
Comet Lovejoy stacked with stars trailing
Very faint tail, but easy to see even on the camera back preview.
And just before dawn:
Faint, but it is there! Comet ISON in person!
Then a few hours’ sleep, and it’s off to Fairvue and Bowie Park. For all that it was wonderfully clear all day long as soon as we get set up in the park, clouds roll in. Sheesh! Luckily, we had the Moon. And when you have the Moon, and high clouds, you just might get a bit of ring around the Moon. We thought perhaps we had a Moondog as well….
We didn’t see this with out eyes….but the camera catches a ring around the Moon, a fuzzed out contrail, and the setting summer triangle.
I got home at a reasonable time, thought about waking up early…..naaah, gotta sleep sometime. Saturday morning came with clouds anyway. Then just about 3pm, the clouds go away, so we think we are good to go for the star party.
Except that more clouds rolled in. Well, we were there, so….we still had the Moon! And over the course of the evening more and more people came, and the viewing improved to where I had the Pleiades, which folks always enjoy. My relatively small scope has a nice wide field of view that shows off that cluster quite well.
Of course it was clear when I got home.
Sunday morning slept in. That way, we set up on Sunday night. Now, to have a prayer of catching ISON, I had to locate the spot exactly. Enough leaves have come off the trees that I now can peek through tree branches and find Polaris. Alnitak as it happened was in nearly exactly ISON’s morning spot at 10pm, so I went out and found the sweet spot were I could see both. Set up the telescope and went to bed. Back up at 3:30 am, fired it up, aligned, got the camera on, took way to long to focus, and then *finally* was able to exactly find ISON! Practice does help. Got a few frames in while the sky is getting brighter and brighter…
C/2012 S1 ISON….pretty in the morning sky
Tired after the long nights….but felt good to have been outdoors so much. Sunrise was very pretty as well.
Of course, after this run we had some intermittent cloudy weather…and right as we go into a stormy weekend we find out that the comet had brightened by at lest 2 orders of magnitude just after the above image! Dang! So now we wait with baited breath to see what happens next!