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Comet Hartley 2 on October 9, 2010

I took this photo on the night of October 9, 2010, in my garden in Zeist, the Netherlands. I had been trying to see this not-so-bright comet for a while now, but finally succeeded. How? Of course! I used precise goto on my Celestron NexStar 5SE. I first found its exact coordinates using Voyager, my favorite OSX planetarium by Carinasoft. A comet moves pretty fast, so you may want to get the coordinates of the exact minute you are trying to hunt it down. At that moment, comet Hartley 2 was at R.A. 02h 44m 37.18s and Dec +56° 12′ 37.9″. My NexStar was of course already linked to GPS satellites and auto two star aligned to Polaris and Albireo. The NexStar computer suggested Mirfak (α Persei), which I centered in the eyepiece. It then instantly slewed to Hartley 2 which was dead center in the eyepiece. I had to use averted vision at first to see it, but quickly got used enough to the dark to see it. I did use the light pollution filter, but it just shows it is possible to find such a faint object in terrible light polluted surroundings with a magnificent instrument like the Celestron NexStar computer.

A few notes about astronomy metadata:

– I have my photo of Comet Hartley 2 in my FlickR photostream. Simply by posting it in the astronomy.net flickr group will add notes and tags to it with the exact coordinates, some of the bright stars, etc. It is also called the “Blind astronomy solver” and it’s a wonderful free service for your FlickR astronomy photos.

– Adding FlickR tags will make your photos easier to find at any rate.

– But if you are really serious about your astronomy metadata: there’s a standard for it called AVM. I won’t even begin to explain it, because there’s a cool site with everything you could dream for, including white papers and a plugin for Adobe products. It works fine with Adobe Bridge on my Macbook Pro running OSX. It’s the future of information. Learn about it now. Metadata is uber cool. A good place to start is XMP panels in Adobe Bridge.

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] Just like comet Hartley 2, I found this very faint (magnitude comet C/2009 P1 Garrad using PRECISE GOTO on my Celestron NexStar 5SE with the exact coordinates of C/2009 P1 Garrad at that time, according to Carinasoft Voyager 4.5 software. […]

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