måndag 8 november 2010

Newly discovered comet !

Now in November a hitherto completely unknown comet was discovered and given the name: Comet C/2010 V1 Ikeya-Murakami

The discovery was made AFTER perihelium (= when the comet is closest to the Sun and usually brightest), and it seems like the comet is in an outburst. The magnitude is smaller than Comet 103P Hartley 2`s, but with higher condensation.

What is even more spectacular about this very unexpected discovery is that the comet could hardly be easier to find in the sky - it can be seen right next to the planet Saturn, and both the comet and the planet could be observed in the same field of view through my birding scope (magn 20x) which is currently serving as my observing scope in the early morning.

10 November 2010

My second observation of Ikeya-Murakami. he comet continues its orbit and is heading towards another bright beacon, Venus, but will be difficult to observe the following days due to the interference of strong Moon-light.

Comet C/2010 V1 Ikeya-Murakami and Saturn

7 November 2010

My first observation of Comet Ikeya-Murakami and the 16th comet that I observe. The comet could only just be seen visually using averted vision, but in images a bullet-like shape could be seen, not unlike a mini-version of Comet 17/P Holmes. This image is a stack of 5x30 sec exposures at ISO 2000 using a 300mm lens in the early morning hours of Nov 7 when Saturn had just climbed above the east-southeastern horizon. Comet Hartley could be observed during the same time - it is not often two bright comets can be observed simultaneously!

Comet C/2010 V1 Ikeya-Murakami and Saturn

lördag 6 november 2010

Astro Photography

Being fortunate with clear skies tonight I did some astro-photography.

Early in the evening, the Milky Way (vintergatan/melkeveien) was clearly visible as a band in the south so I started off with some wide-angle pictures in my back-yard.

The Milky Way/Vintergatan/Melkeveien

The Milky Way

Later in the evening, I changed to a 300mm tele-lens to capture the two gas-giants Jupiter and Uranus in the same picture - the two planets are now to be found almost next to each other in the sky.

The planets Jupiter and Uranus
Switching back to my wide-angle lens and landscape photography, I was lucky to capture a rather slow and bright meteor streaking through the Earth`s atmosphere from Håkøya outside Tromsø. Jupiter can be seen to the left in the picture and the incoming clouds resulted in a halo around the planet.
Jupiter (to the left) and a meteor (to the right)

torsdag 4 november 2010

Northern Night

Tonight, me and my good friend and photographer Espen Bergersen went for a small photo-trip to Kattfjordeidet - a valley here on Kvaløya with dark surroundings. We got to see nice northern lights, a crystal clear view of the Milky Way and a few Taurid meteors sweeping across the sky. With Jupiter being the brightest object at the moment, we could enjoy a wonderful night sky with lots of gems that are usually hidden in the light pollution of the city.

My focus tonight was on trying to get some images of comet Hartley, which is in a very interesting phase right now, and tonight (4 Nov) the comet will get a UNIQUE visit of NASAs Deep Impact (EPOXI) probe passing the comet at close distance which will most likely reveal lots of new information about these celestial wanderers.

The EPOXI mission can be followed here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/15oct_epoxi/

4 November 2010:

Comet Hartley`s large green coma and faint tail can be seen easily, especially in the RGB negative version of tonight`s image.

A stack of various exposure times revealed the faint tail of the comet

RGB negative image of comet Hartley

View to the north towards Ersfjordbotn

Northern light bow stretching over Kattfjordeidet

måndag 1 november 2010

Rowan-berry Diet in the North

It has been a very good year for rown berries/rönnbär/rognebær in the north. With the winter came the rowanberries and with the rowanberries came all the birds with an appetite for the red berries - including a large invasion of waxwings/sidensvans.

Rain turned to snow

The waxwings/sidensvans have arrived

Waxwing/sidensvans with its favourite winter-diet

Eurasian Jay/Nötskrika/Nøtteskrike