I like to image comets with my astrophotography setup. It is an Esprit 80 ED. I found a good article from Sky and Telescope for Comets in 2024.
I have working on imaging 12P/Pons-Brooks for several weeks. With poor weather and it getting very low to the horizon I was finally able to get one where it was brighter and easier to make out in the image. In the article it shows several comets that I will attempt to image this year. I added them to Stellarium and noticed a couple candidates to image this month.
144P/Kushida is well situated for imaging in the constellation Taurus. I went out Thursday night and was able to see it in the images. It is pretty faint but was definitely imageable. Decided to take 60 – 60 sec images at -10C 100 Gain. There were a lot of bright stars very near the comet so that cause some problems in processing.
Comet 144P/Kushida taken @ Skiatook, OK 2024 Feb 8 20:58
in Constellation Taurus within the Hyades Star cluster.
ZWO ASI2600MC pro 60 - 60 sec exposures 100 Gain -10°C Color
Skywatcher Esprit 80 ED Super APO f/5 Skywatcher EQ-6R pro mount
Processed with Astro Pixel Processor and Photoshop.
I would like to see other images or observations from any of you that also like to image or visually observe comets.
Great image and an interesting link-out. Such a unique color compared to everything else in the sky. And what’s more, I hadn’t even thought about adding objects to Stellarium until you mentioned it Thanks, Stan!
Yep, Stellarium can help after you add a comet. You can fast-forward the time and see when it’s going to be up, etc. I use Stellarium quite a bit when I plan to go after a comet. Stan knows I’m crazy about comets too!
I use Stellarium a lot to help me frame up my asteroid images. It’s especially handy for framing multi-asteroid images.
One caution, however. If you are going to use Stellarium for comets or asteroids, make sure you update the orbital elements for the object you are going after.
If you are adding a new object to Stellarium’s database, that will automatically provide the most current orbital elements. But, if you are targeting an object that is already in the database, update the orbital elements before relying on Stellarium to have the object in the correct spot or give you the correct coordinates for a go-to.
I’ve learned from hard experience that non-updated objects can be as much as 2-3 fields of view off.
I just updated my Stellarium and I’m showing 144P/Kushida to be just under Aldebaran (the eye of the bull) in Taurus. That sounds right to you guys. If so, this thing is in a great patch of sky. You know what? The C14 at CRO would be perfect to shoot this comet right now.
I updated 144P/Kushida’s orbital elements in Stellarium this morning. This is where Stellarium puts it Monday Feb 12th at 21:00 CST.
The red box is set up for the field of view of my 80 mm f/5 refractor and ZWO ASI482MC camera. There are also some faint mag 15-17 asteroids in the vicinity (I haven’t updated their elements so they may or may not be exactly positioned as shown here).
I hope this matches everyone else’s Stellarium position.
I did some calculations that Rod Gallagher taught me to determine the comets speed. Using this you can properly set your exposure time to capture the comet and limit it’s movement during the exposure. For this comet on the 10th I can take a 60 sec exposure with my telescope and camera setup. Actually I could take a 65 second exposure, but I will do 60 it will be easier to calculate my total time.
I was able to get out in my backyard in Edmond last night to take a crack at Comet 144P/Kushida as it moved through Taurus, close to Aldebaran. The Minor Planet Center ephemerides put the comet at V mag 10.9.
An 80-minute time-lapse animation and star-trailed still image follow. The images were captured with my Orion ST-80 (80mm f/5) telescope and ZWO ASI482MC camera.
The animation consists of 26 images. Each image in the animation is a live-stacked image of six 30-second subs. Being compressed for upload, and with lots of twinkling stars and hot pixels, it’s not the greatest, but here it is.
The star-trailed image is a stack of 28 live-stacked subs (6 at 30 sec each).
Russ, Thanks again for posting these animations. And having the side-by-side with the star trails made it very easy to call out whether to look. I became so excited, I called my wife over to look. It’s amazing to think how much near-by activity is going on all the time.
Thanks for the kind words. I’m fascinated with these objects and enjoy tracking them down. They are a piece of the nearby universe that actually show change, in the form of movement, that can be captured on a time scale of hours and minutes.