Thursday, October 14, 2010

Comet Hartley Movie

Click on Image for a larger view
A fairly bright comet, 103P/Hartley 2, is now heading toward the Sun and passing by the earth.  I photographed this comet last week, Oct 9/10 through my 1000mm telescope.  The above image is a combination of 50 exposures with each shot lasting 4 minutes.  I started the exposure run at 11:12 p.m. and ended the 50th shot at 2:39 a.m.  The comet was moving fairly fast and went past the bright star at the top of the image at the time of the last shot.  With special software (DeepSkyStacker) I was able to combine all 50 images on top of the first image.  Without DeepSkyStacker a normal stack of the images would have created a long streak across the frame.

I have also created a short 50 second movie showing the comet as it trucked on by.  Click here to download the file Comet-Hartley.exe to watch the self running movie.


  1. Never saw a movie file in an .exe format before.
    Can't play it on a Mac. Can you repost it in either an mpg or avi file?


  2. Tom,
    This post is fantastic! I really enjoyed it - especially since I worked so hard just to see it... I also noted with interest the 2 meteors streak by - in frames 20 & 34, I believe. Great job, as usual!
    Keith R.

  3. Rob: Sorry you can't see the exe file on a Mac. I could post it as an avi or mpeg file, but it's around 80 Megs on those formats. I see about posting it on You Tube.

  4. Keith R.: Thanks for the comments. It's pretty faint, but from a dark sky site it was visible in binoculars, about as bright as the galaxy M33. Those are either meteors or satellites, not sure which. If you look close at the nucleus of the comet, it is oval instead of round. That is because the comet moved that much in the 4 minutes it took to get each image.