Astrophotography: Comet Panstarrs

Location Info:

We will meet on top of the observatory hill, behind the observatory, to the left and behind the small tower with communications equipment, also to the left, go as far as you can until you hit the rocky end. See this map (click). Park at point A in the map, note that this is the second (more northern) parking lot. Park at the very northern end (look for my black BMW), this is the shortest walk to the road.

You will then embark on a 20 minute hike up the steep hill, on a paved road (comfortable to walk and you wanted to loose some weight, anyway, right? :-). Be careful as you get to the top, the melt water is freezing over!

We will meet at point C, the very far rocky end: when you get to the observatory, go around it on the left and towards the smaller tower with communication equipment on it and around the left of that one, too. That's where we will be, see photo below. If the group is too large, we can split up into two groups and shoot from point B, which is the bus drop-off and ski lift - right under the lift, see photo further down.

This is the view from point C:

 

 

 

 

This is the view from point B:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Timing and Logistics Info:

The weather forecast is cloudy for the sunset time, with winds dying down as it gets later. Watch the weather and decide if you want to come, but please keep your RSVP updated before 3 pm. If it is a washout, I may repeat the meetup sometime next week during the week. However, this meetup here will be happening!

Sunset is at 6:52 and the comet is best visible for 60-90 minutes after that, as it gets darker, but before it is completely dark. We will not wait at point A, please proceed up the hill on your own.

Before you RSVP, please make sure that you paid your dues, only members in good standing can participate.

Equipment:

It will be cold and somewhat windy, dress in layers, bring some hot fluids and gloves as well as head cover.

Standard equipment: tripod, camera, remote release/timer.

Lenses: anything goes from wide angle landscape to 400 mm zoom, I recommend to have both. For the comet to show prominently, you will need to zoom in quite a bit, below is a shot with a 250 mm (full frame) zoom.

Bring a *very dim* flashlight to see your camera and not blind others (no bright head lamps, please), and perhaps some regular ones for light painting. There is a rock with a big crack, which is just begging to be lit up. :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Comet Info

Comet Panstarr will be the brightest comet in a long time and at our latitude it will have its best showing starting early March. The comet turned out to be less bright than expected, hence, the rescheduling to this weekend, as brightness will diminish further as we go. It is still a very small crescent moon, which makes a great addition to the photos. This is a Friday, so we can stay out long, perhaps for some beautiful time lapse, staged crescent moon trail and/or star trails. Don't miss this, the next time this comet will appear is in[masked] years, you might be too old then!

For more info on the comet and how to view it, here are a few links:

Up to date link for what to expect tomorrow (moon will be slightly higher, comet slightly further right):

http://earthsky.org/tonight/moon-comet-panstarrs-in-western-sky-after-sunset-march-14

http://scienceheathen.com/2013/02/26/comet-panstarrs-where-and-when-to-see-sungrazing-comet-in-march/

http://www.kadamsphoto.com/nightphotography/how-to-photograph-comet-pan-starrs/

http://thewatchers.adorraeli.com/2013/03/07/comet-pan-starrs-c2011-l4/

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  • Jackie C.

    Thank you Jurgen
    It was fun night

    March 16, 2013

  • Mark

    Great time last night, Thanks Jurgen. I'll be keeping an eye out for some possible locations.

    March 16, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    What a fun night! Lots of great subjects and a lesson in light painting by the master, Jurgen.

    1 · March 16, 2013

  • Michael K.

    Very nice meet up by Jürgen. Well planned and executed. As always he is very helpful and willing to teach. Great location too.

    March 16, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Good work Jurgen, getting us this location. It hadn't seemed like it was possible on Friday, when I talked to the director. See you later!

    March 15, 2013

  • Mawuena D.

    I would love to do some astro-photography! Is there any special equipment needed besides a camera, a tripod and an intervalometer? Looking forward to late-night adventure!

    February 28, 2013

    • Mawuena D.

      Hey thanks for the reminder. I keep a Maglite in my Landscape bag and I have a set of gel filters to change up the color. A while back I also picked up a headlamp with a setting for red light...much dimmer than the normal setting plus red light "falls off" quicker. I'm 50/50 on tonight. I'll know by 2pm. Thanks Mr. Jurgen!

      March 15, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Even on red, the headlight is still too bright and if you turn around when I talk to you, you'll shine it right into my face. :-) Trust me, headlamps are not a good idea, but they might make for good (hand-held) object illumination. Hope to seeing you!

      1 · March 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    No parking at the top?

    March 14, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Nope, there is a gate at the bottom and it is closed after 5

      March 15, 2013

  • Jeremie D.

    Sorry can't do it Friday.

    March 14, 2013

  • Chris D.

    I can't attend, but thank you for the invitation, good luck with your shooting.

    March 14, 2013

  • David K.

    Disappointed that I can't make it. Unfortunately I'll be in NYC for the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

    March 14, 2013

  • Mark

    Depending on where the location ends up being, I may have to drop out as well.

    March 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    When I heard the shoot was moved to Friday I tried to clear my schedule... just learned, it won't happen. I'm very sorry to miss this occasion with all of you. Good luck, Salvy

    March 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks, Kate

    March 13, 2013

  • Kate H.

    I fixed it for you.

    March 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    RSVPs are closed. I just checked. I would like to go too.

    March 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I checked again from home and it says RSVPs not open yet

    March 12, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Just count mein!

      March 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Rsvp are closed?
    Thinking of a location on Rt106 in bridgewater
    Golf course

    March 12, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Sherri: RSVPs should be open until noon on the 15th. Can you please reload your page and check again? Let me know if it still shows closed.

      March 12, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      We need a clear view of the westerly sky. Rt 106 has power lines all over the place.

      March 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I agree with Jeff's suggestion. Good idea.

    March 12, 2013

  • Jeff B.

    Err, there is no leading - for those coordinates (unless you want to go to Argentina)
    [masked],[masked]

    March 12, 2013

  • Jeff B.

    Jurgen I can't make this Friday, but for a location in the Boston/South Shore area the Wier River Farm in Hingham might work. It's on a hill and has a good view of the horizon. There is a house right near the parking lot so it might be worth checking in with them too as they may get curious about all the flashlights.

    Here are the coordinates for google maps -[masked],[masked]

    March 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Jurgen, I'm finding conflicting dates for the comet's appearance:

    http://thewatchers.adorraeli.com/2013/03/07/comet-pan-starrs-c2011-l4/

    I have a close friend in Western MA scouting locations for us... hope to have some thoughts in the next day or so.

    March 10, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Juren -- I'm definitely in on this one! Are the RSVP's really closed? I used to live in Western MA and still have friends out there. I will study the location of the comet and may have some suggestions for a good location on top a small mountain or a suitable lakeside, as you've indicated.

    February 5, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      RSVPs are not open yet, need a location and would appreciate suggestions.

      March 9, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm in. Sounds like an adventure to me!

    February 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Wow! Sounds awesome if the weather cooperates!

    February 2, 2013

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