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Comet PANSTARRS meets M31

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Taking advantage of a beautifully clear night, some of my astro-chums and I spent the evening observing and photographing Comet PANSTARRS. This time from near the top of St. Roche’s hill (known locally as The Trundle) near Goodwood, West Sussex. Apart from myself, the group consisted of Pete Lawrence (from The Sky at Night), Damian Peach (the world’s greatest planetary imager), Ninian Boyle (author of The Lion’s Paw) and Mark Parrish (regular contributor to the Sky at Night magazine).

I took my AstroTrac unit mounted on a sturdy tripod, and my Canon 350D with a 200mm F2.8 lens which I used at F4. I decided this would be the best kit to be able to fit the comet and the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) in the same frame. Here’s the first result.


And here’s a cropped version where I have stretched the image as much as I dare to bring out the galaxy and the fainter parts of PANSTARRS:

2 thoughts on “Comet PANSTARRS meets M31”

  1. Excellent composition and atmosphere to these shots! I hear a lot about the astro-trac.
    Having tried to find this when it was near the setting sun (and forgetting half my telescope at home!) I thought it had gone from the skies in March – have to read up and stay current from the looks of it – thanks for highlighting the fact it’s not gone forever yet – hopefully it will still be around for the star party at Kelling?

    1. Hi David,

      Thanks for your comments. In fact, the comet is now circnumpolar from these latitudes so it never sets! It’s slowly moving towards the pole and is becoming easier to image even though it’s getting fainter. I think you will see better shots with bigger telescopes as it climbs into darker skies.

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