Comet Lulin and More

I tried hard last weekend to see and photograph Comet Lulin. Unfortunately, the high amounts of light pollution here in Houston prevented me from seeing the comet with the naked eye (the comet is now bright enough to see, but only in very dark skies). It did, however, show up faintly in a long exposure:

Comet Lulin – Wide Angle (Feb-22)
Canon 40D with 24mm f/1.4L II
f/1.8, 6 sec., ISO 800

Comet Lulin – Telephoto (Feb-22)
Canon 40D with 400mm f/5.6L
f/5.6, 4 sec., ISO 1600

Since it was not visible to the naked eye (or even my 10×42 binoculars), I resorted to taking 6 second exposures with my 24mm lens and then scanning the LCD screen to look for it.

The first night I tried it (two days prior to the photos above), I couldn’t find it. I gave up and photographed other things in the sky.

Crescent Moon (Feb-20)
Canon 40D with 400mm f/5.6L + two 1.4x teleconverters
f/16 (eff.), 1/4 sec., ISO 800

Saturn (viewed at 100%) (Feb-20)
Canon 40D with 400mm f/5.6L + two 1.4x teleconverters
f/16 (eff.), 1/90 sec., ISO 1600

One note on using stacked 1.4x teleconverters: when used on the f/5.6 lens, the maximum aperture increases two stops to f/11. I stopped down one to increase sharpness a bit, so the above photos were effectively at f/16.

And just for fun, while I’m posting astrophotography stuff, here’s a shot of a nice moon halo we had in early January. Again, this is from my backyard here in Houston.

Moon Halo (Jan-7)
Canon 5D with 24mm f/1.4L II
f/2.0, 6 sec., ISO 800

2 thoughts on “Comet Lulin and More

  1. Wow, your getting this astro stuff down.. These shoots are beautiful. I’ve been thinking about getting a equatorial mount and mounting the camera on it. Have you done that yet?

  2. Thanks, Mike. I wish I could have escaped the big, light-polluted city for some darker skies, but it just didn’t happen. The comet has peaked in intensity and is now moving away from Earth.

    I’ve not tried such mounts, but I’d love to someday. Here’s a very interesting one:

    And here’s a good review of it (check out the awesome photo of the Andromeda Galaxy near the bottom of the page):

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