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Dan Lessmann

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Comet Machholz (C/2004 Q2)



This is Comet Machholz (C/2004 Q2) imaged while in the constellation Eridanus.  This comet was discovered on August 27, 2004 by Donald Machholz of Colfax, California and is his tenth comet discovered. 


This fifteen minute exposure demonstrates very well the motion of a comet relative to the background stars.  What appears to be poor tracking is actually the relative motion of the comet for the length of the exposure. 


At the time of this image, this comet had a thin tail that would be extending up and right from the coma as oriented in this image.  Unfortunately, the comet set behind some trees before enough exposures could be made to show the tail. On this date, the comet had an estimated magnitude of 5.4 and was just visible in binoculars from urban skies.


On January 7, 2004, this comet will be very near the Pleiades star cluster and should have brightened somewhat to perhaps magnitude 4.1.  


Date: 12/12/2004

Telescope:  Orion 80 ED

Camera:  Canon 20D

Mount: LX200GPS, Unguided

Capture Software:  EOS Viewer

Settings: f/7.5, ISO 800

Exposure Count:  30 x 30 seconds each, 15 minutes total exposure.

Method:  Aligned, combined and post processed in ImagesPlus.

Last Updated: 11/12/2014  -  Copyright 2004-2013 by Dan Lessmann.  All rights reserved.  Please click here for my usage policy.