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Astronomy Picture of the Day 2-10-03
NASA ^ | 2-10-03 | Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell

Posted on 02/09/2003 10:48:47 PM PST by petuniasevan

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2003 February 10
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Comet NEAT Approaches the Sun
Credit and Copyright: Anton Spenko (Rezmon Observatory)

Explanation: A comet may likely become visible to the unaided eye over the next few days above the horizon where the Sun has just set. Comet NEAT (C/ 2002 V1), discovered last November, has brightened dramatically as it approached the Sun. Over the next few days, the quickly setting comet could appear as bright as second magnitude. On February 18 it will round the Sun well within the orbit of Mercury. During surrounding days, the Sun's glare will effectively hide the comet to human observers. It is quite probable, though, that Comet NEAT will standout prominently in images taken by the Sun-looking SOHO satellite. Pictured above, Comet NEAT's complex and developing tail was photographed on January 29 (top) and February 2. Sky enthusiasts should remember to never look directly at the Sun.


TOPICS: Astronomy; Astronomy Picture of the Day; Science
KEYWORDS: brightening; coma; comet; neat; sunset; tail; twilight
Of course this comet's brightness curve has flattened out. Comet Kudo-Fujikawa was a real disappointment; this comet is a little better. Don't be surprised, though, if you look for it and can't find a Hale-Bopp neon sign comet. The brightness of Comet NEAT will not reach that level while visible. You need to get out the binoculars and look in the area indicated for a fuzzy "star". The darker and clearer the sky, the better.

Here's a way to see the comet near perihelion: check out the SOHO orbiter's LASCO images!

Regardless of its visibility for Earth-bound observers, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft will have a good view of Comet NEAT as it moves through perihelion. Between February 15th and 21st, Comet C/2002 V1 will be less than 10° from the Sun and should be visible in the field-of-view of the spacecraft's LASCO C2 and C3 coronagraphs.

Here's a chart showing the comet's path by date:


1 posted on 02/09/2003 10:48:47 PM PST by petuniasevan
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To: MozartLover; Joan912; NovemberCharlie; snowfox; Dawgsquat; viligantcitizen; theDentist; ...

2 posted on 02/09/2003 10:50:08 PM PST by petuniasevan (Wonders of the universe)
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The link in the APOD "Quickly setting comet" will bring up Comet NEAT's Daily Ephemeris.

Location is given by Right Ascension and Declination. This system functions much like Longitude and Latitude do for finding locations on Earth.

3 posted on 02/09/2003 10:56:04 PM PST by petuniasevan (Wonders of the universe)
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To: All
Please stop by this thread and see another FReeper's first effort at astrophotography. If you take astrophotos, Joe would like to see them on his thread. Thanks!

Freeper Amateur Astronomers Image Thread
My photos | 2-9-3 | Joe Hadenuf

4 posted on 02/09/2003 10:59:52 PM PST by petuniasevan (Wonders of the universe)
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To: petuniasevan
Good job, we will be looking at the SOHO site! Thanks APOD!
5 posted on 02/10/2003 7:18:58 AM PST by BossyRoofer
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To: petuniasevan
I remember all the fuss surrounding Kohoutek when it paid a visit in '75. For about two weeks, comet fever gripped tha nation as all the major news outlets and Astro-wags promised an amazing night-sky display of the Great Comet Kohoutek's Fiery Tail.

LSS: A complete bust. The comet made its close approach to the sun and only observers with binoculars and telescopes could see anything. In fact, except for photos like these, I've never seen a comet!
6 posted on 02/10/2003 8:29:27 AM PST by BradyLS
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To: BradyLS
You mean you missed out on Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake back in '96-'97?

The astronomers were cautious at first with the press releases - they remember too the "bust" of Kohoutek.

I do too.

7 posted on 02/10/2003 11:59:01 AM PST by petuniasevan (comets)
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To: petuniasevan
does any one here know how (and IF) you can take night time pictures with a digital camera?

whenever I try to photograph the moon I get a white blobe surrounded by a black blob
8 posted on 02/10/2003 1:05:06 PM PST by Mr. K (all your (OPTIONAL TAG LINE) are belong to us)
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To: petuniasevan
Well, I remember it some, but it wan't as endilibly etched into the the older mind as Kohoutek was on the younger. Glad to see Hale-Bopp lived up to the reasonable hype. I need to to move or go someplace away from the lights to catch these events once in awhile! The thing I remember most about Hale-Bopp is the Heaven's Gate cult that lost their heads over it.
9 posted on 02/10/2003 8:13:58 PM PST by BradyLS
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To: Mr. K; Joe Hadenuf
I haven't done any digital camera work whatsoever...

Maybe Joe can help.
10 posted on 02/10/2003 9:00:43 PM PST by petuniasevan (Wonders of the universe)
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To: petuniasevan
Actually, still saving for a CCD digital camera for the scope. As you are probably aware, they are pricey but extremely sensitive. Many times more than film and the reduced exposure times make tracking times objects more fun and less tedious. Instead of 60 minutes exposures, they are now reduced to maybe 100 seconds or so and are great for light pollution as you don't see the fogging effect produced by light pollution when using conventional film. Makes tracking much easier.

Now hand held digital cameras are now being used and mounted to higher end amateur equipment and some are taking fantastic images, but require brighter objects, such as the lunar surface and planetary images.

Deep space, lower light images really require CCD digital cameras, specifically designed for this purpose. And there results are stunning, as technology advances in the chips and CCD designs. CCD cameras are changing the whole ball game for the serious amateur.

Great site here. If there is a ping list, I would like to be on it.

11 posted on 02/10/2003 9:24:19 PM PST by Joe Hadenuf
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To: Mr. K
Some department store digital cameras can be attached to higher end scopes. Like the Nikon Cool Pix and a few others as there lense housing is threaded, and they make attachments for these cameras to the eyepieces of these cameras.

Check this image out! This is by an amature!

This was taken with an Olympus C-2100, using a 14.5 Starmaster, 18mm Radian / Televue Adapter, ISO 100, full manual, 1/10 Sec. Exposures , 10x Optical Zoom , 220 Images Stacked ,RegiStax/PSP7 , Histgram , Levels, Unsharp Mask ,noise reduction

12 posted on 02/10/2003 9:35:16 PM PST by Joe Hadenuf
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To: Mr. K
Heres the digital camera that took the above Saturn image.


13 posted on 02/10/2003 9:43:08 PM PST by Joe Hadenuf
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To: Mr. K
Just remember, he was using this camera with an amateur 14.5" scope.
14 posted on 02/10/2003 9:47:07 PM PST by Joe Hadenuf
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To: Joe Hadenuf
That's a great image of Saturn. Was the image fairly bright already? Or did it need to be punched up a little? Utterly amazing what scenes from other planets finally manage to come back to us under an ocean of air!
15 posted on 02/10/2003 9:50:02 PM PST by BradyLS
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To: BradyLS
It underwent some image enhancement in adobe photoshop, but this was backyard, amateur astronomy.

Incredible isn't it? Digital cameras, CCDs are opening up a whole new world to the amateur.

16 posted on 02/10/2003 10:02:56 PM PST by Joe Hadenuf
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To: Joe Hadenuf
Joe, if I wanted to photograph the moon over my house, for example, could I do that with a digital cam? (I dont even know how to do it with a regular cam, so I am really at a loss)

I get some incredible moon views at my house, and I have always wantred to capture some.

I have a Kodak DCS5000 and the day time pics are wonderful (see the pic of my twins in my profile)

but I can find nothing in the instructions or settings for night time shots.

Thanks, All, for your help!!
17 posted on 02/11/2003 7:57:43 AM PST by Mr. K (all your (OPTIONAL TAG LINE) are belong to us)
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To: petuniasevan
Thought this may interest you. This is my first attempt at photographing the planet Saturn using a Schmidtt Cassegrain Meade LX-200, eyepiece projection using an MA 25mm eyepiece and a tele-extender, Fuji 400 1.5 second exposure, taken with an Olympus OM-1 camera.

I know, it's out of focus. Focusing is critical and my next shots should show surface or atmospheric gas/cloud bands. I am currently experimenting with different types of focusing techniques.


18 posted on 02/11/2003 10:22:32 AM PST by Joe Hadenuf
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To: Joe Hadenuf
If there is a ping list, I would like to be on it

Done!

19 posted on 02/11/2003 11:37:19 AM PST by petuniasevan (Wonders of the universe)
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To: Joe Hadenuf
It's so out of focus it resembles a red "x". ;-D

I tried copy/pasting the pic URL and tripod says no such page. Is the URL right?
20 posted on 02/11/2003 11:41:05 AM PST by petuniasevan (Wonders of the universe)
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To: petuniasevan
Here, I'll try this again, using Rileys browser


21 posted on 02/11/2003 1:33:03 PM PST by Joe Hadenuf
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