Comet Lulin

Bright comet in Libra

Uploaded 2/5/09

Comet image taken 2/4/09 at 4 am
The field of view at left is .75 degrees wide and .5 degrees tall. Select an image size for a larger view: 1024 x 768 1600 x 1200

Now only 20 days from closest approach, this 6th magnitude object glows a bright cyan color from ionized gasses as it speeds toward a rendezvous on Feb 25th. The extension seen on the left of the head is the comets dusty anti tail, as we are nearly in the orbital plane of the comet now. This image is tracked on the comets nucleus, and shows the stars speeding by in the 30 minutes it took me to shoot the comet. Small gaps in the star trails are due to the 8 second download time from the camera between exposures.


R,G,and B images were stacked separately an then combined to a color image and gamma stretched. The shadow/highlight tool was used slightly to improve the anti tail contrast. To properly color the stars, a single RGB set was layered 30 times over this image combining with Hue. The stars were shifted to cover the trails individual components with the correct G2V color. A mask was used near the comets core to keep the color details of the comets central area from blurring. This the the first time I had ever tried this trick.

Instrument: 12.5" f/5 Home made Newtonian Mount: Astrophysics 1200 QMD CCD Camera: SBIG 10XME NABG with Enhanced Water Cooling Guider: Meade DSI PRO w/Lumicon Newt Easy Guider Exposure: RGB = 10:10:10 (30x1m) AstroDon RGB Combine Ratio: 1: 1.05: 1.11 Location: Payson, Arizona, Elevation: 5150 ft. Sky: Seeing FWHM = 10 arcsec (Maxim DL - 10min subframe), Transparency 9/10 Outside Temperature: 42 F CCD Temperature: -30 C Image Processing Tools: Maxim DL: Calibration, deblooming (Starizona Debloomer), aligning, stacking Gralaks Sigma: Stacking PixInsight: Curves, Deconvolution, noise reduction Photoshop CS2: Curves, Color Correction, Cleanup HOME GALAXIES EMISSION NEBS REFLECTION NEBS COMETS GLOBULARS OPEN CLUST PLANETARIES LINKS