Comets, planets, and summer DSOs

Since my favourite (night-time!) targets are deep-sky objects, I usually give up for a couple of months this time of year as it never gets properly dark But – that was in the pre-PD camera world!

Last night, Comet C2015/V2 (Johnson) was predicted to have a close encounter with a couple of galaxies, so I wanted to try to image that. I set up, and while I was waiting for it to get as dark as it was going to get, I had another go at Saturn. Here it is:

Not as good as I have done, but not bad, given its low altitude of about 12 degrees.

I then moved on to the comet, and here this is, together with the 2 galaxies. The image is a composite, as the comet was moving significantly over the 20 X 20 second exposures I was using.  I stacked once on the comet, and once on the galaxies and then merged the 2.

Here are the 20 raw frames put together as an MP4 movie to show the motion of the comet.

What else could we see  given it wasn’t really dark? M13 in Hercules seemed a good candidate, so here it is:

 

Encouraged by this, I tried for 2 galaxies in Draco:

By this time Serpens appeared between 2 trees, so on the off-chance I might see something, I tried for M16/Eagle Nebula. Look at this!:

This is where the famous Hubble “Pillars of Creation” was taken. Hubble is a bit better than mine, but there IS a minor price differential between Hubble and the PD camera!

I finished off with a small globular in Aquila, feeling well satisfied with the evening’s work!

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