Thursday, December 28, 2006
It was nice to have a brief visit of a passing comet shortly after getting my astrophotography rig. This was Comet Swan, named for the SWAN instrument aboard the sun-orbiting SOHO spacecraft. The instrument makes images available to the public, and the skilled eyes of astronomers all over the world, both amateur and professional, can use these images to discover their own comet. This comet, also classified as C/2006 M4, is a non-periodic comet, which means it will not come back for at least 200 years, if at all. Comet Swan suddenly increased brightness from magnitude 7 to magnitude 4 shortly before my image was taken. I didn't have ideal imaging conditions as the comet was low on the horizon at dusk and would disappear behind trees not long after it was dark enough to image. The images were aligned on the comet nucleus and stacked in ImagesPlus.