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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.