Comet Q2 Lovejoy on 13th and 14th of February 2015
Two night of imaging comet Lovejoy from what I was hoping that it will be a dark sky location. Together with my wife, her brother and her parents, we went to Cota 1000 near Sinaia at 1000 meters, one of my favorite locations for deep-sky imaging due mostly to the ease of access and short trip duration. Unfortunately, this year all of the trips at this location were not that successful due to high humidity and light pollution, which might mean that I have to find another location in the coming years.
Nevertheless, these two trips resulted in two new observations of comet Lovejoy, and this time with some action: a large plasma “blob” detached from the nucleus in the first day (February 13) making the comet’s tail easily visible in 15×80 binoculars under mag. +5.5 skies, while the next night the tail was almost completely invisible.
The comet’s head was visible barely with the naked eye on both nights, and we’ve estimated the visual magnitude around +5.3.
The following are some of the first processed images done by my wife and I, and other processing updates will be published soon.
My wife used a Canon 100mm lens on a Canon 550D at ISO1600, and 4 minutes exposures, while my equipment was the TS APO 65Q Refractor at F/6.5 also with a Canon 550D at ISO3200. The exposures in my case were between 4 and 5 minutes and for the first night I’ve acquired only 8 frames (due to some problems with the mount), while the second night I’ve acquired 15 frames.
The first image is my wife’s wide-field view from the 13th, showing the actual extent of the tail (around 7 degrees in length); the small “node” in the brightest part of the tail is the “plasma blob”:
My image of the comet from that night shows only the brightest part of the tail from the above image, but does present the “blob” a little better:
Since the 14th of February was the third day in a row in which I could image the comet, I’ve created the following grayscale and inverted mosaic showing both the comet’s position among the stars for those three days, and the fantastic evolution of the tail:
Now I’m working on a new version of the February 13th image, trying to get the best out of the comet’s tail.