Photo samples: Comets


Photo samples: Comet


      These are scans of photographs I made from 1975 through 1997. They are nothing fancy, but simply show what can be done with basic equipment. The primary equipment includes a Minolta camera body (models include SRT-201, XD-11, and X-700), a Minolta 50mm f1.4 lens, and 135mm and 205mm lenses from other companies. Some of these photos were short enough exposures that nothing was used to track the comets, just a tripod and shutter cable release to keep the camera as steady as possible during exposures of 10 seconds to a minute. For long exposures of several minutes duration, I initially mounted the camera piggyback on my Criterion 6-inch Dynascope reflector, but in recent years I have used a nice little tracking device for camera tripods by Vista Instrument Co.
      The observation of comets is still one of the most rewarding things an amateur astronomer can do. Although the automated sky surveys of today have seriously taken the fun away from those observers who searched the sky in the hope of discovering a comet, professional astronomers do not continuously monitor comets. This is an amateur astronomer pursuit. It is usually the amateurs that alert the world to sudden changes and provide the information to allow the study of a comet's behaviour.

C/1975 V1 (West)

C/1980 Y2 (Panther)

C/1983 H1 (IRAS-Araki-Alcock)

C/1988 A1 (Liller)