Friday, October 26, 2007

Comet 17P/Holmes

It's a real surprise when people report that it brightens suddenly and it's available whole night long. So, I shall catch it by all means :-)

Originally, I planned to bring my DBK/DMK to capture some shots with my c mount lenses, however, I gave up finally with the worriness about security issue. The areas around my home is pretty quiet, and security is really a concern. Therefore, I only brought my newly arrived (this afternoon!) Canon 10x30 IS with me, together with a self printed finder chart.

Actually, I expect that it's a very easy find, for it's very close Mirphak (Alpha Perseus), so with the wide field of view of the Canon (6 degrees), it's a very easy job. Even in urban area of Hong Kong, with Capella around, the nearly full moon, it should be really easy.

I choose a small playground from my home, I thought it will be very quiet, but instead, there's still a little kid playing with her father, a couple, plus some security guards around chatting with cleaning staff. It's a very nice and secure place indeed.

I choose to lay down on the slide (the kid is not playing), the moon is my first target, it's to test the CA of the Canon and also the function of the Image Stabilizer. I'm very satisfied with both, zero complain.

Next, I tried to locate Mirphak with my eyes, sorry, no luck. Next is Alpha Aries (Hamal), yes, it's barely visible. Strange, I think Mirphak is easier since it's farther away from the moon. Maybe due to thin cloud/mist?

I also tried to locate Capella.... it's visible on and off, never very certain with naked eyes. Anyway, I scan around in the expected sky patch with the Canon... two bright stars are located very easily, and then... I saw a yellowish dot of light, it's as bright as that two stars, if not brighter, and on pressing the IS button, wow... I saw it's not a dot of light, it's definitely non-stellar! It's that comet for sure!

I'm very happy, since it's the first time which I really see a comet! It's not big at 10x, but it's definitely big enough to be detected as a small disc!

I think if we have to shoot it, we either need longer focal length (like my C5) or to be at a darker place. Let's see if we have chance soon.

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