Monday, December 07, 2015

Moon, Comet and Venus Continue Their Dance

Comet C/2014 US10 Catalina (blue-green fuzzy dot to the left), the moon and Venus to the right
I predicted last week that the viewing would get better all week for Comet Catalina, with an interesting configuration in the sky with the moon and Venus joining the comet this morning (above).  The three celestial bodies played hide and seek for hours after they rose, then the hazy cloud cover seemed to close, so I caught a few final exposures before picking up my tripod and heading inside.  Fortunately the very last few frames did let all three shine through the clouds just enough that I could show them to you here.

The 14% crescent moon was a lot brighter than the comet, but it'll only be an 8% sliver tomorrow morning, and its rise will follow Venus and the comet, so comet photography will be good before the moon rises, then you can try for all three again as the moon rises.

The image above was captured on a Canon 5D Mark III and EF 85mm f.1.8 lens and cropped from the larger field of view.  The 85mm lens should just fit the three objects again tomorrow, or I might go to 70mm for a wide shot like this.  For shots of the comet only, I'll probably use my Canon EOS 70D on a sky tracking mount, perhaps with a Canon EF 70-300mm f.4-5.6 IS lens to get an effective focal length of up to 480mm.

The screen shot to the right shows what the configuration will look like tomorrow.