Hale-Bopp: The Great Comet of 1997

March 22 Photo

I took this one at about 8pm EST on March 22, 1997. It is a tracked closeup of the comet using a 400mm lens. Although you can't see it, a nearly full moon makes the sky background bright and partially washes out the comet's tail. The effect on the blue ion trail is especially severe. Longer exposures ended up being too washed out by the sky glow.

400mm, 1 minute at f/8.0 on Kodak Royal Gold 400

March 9 Photos

I took these at about 5am EST on March 9, 1997. Here are three exposures from about 5am EST on March 9, 1997. The left picture shows a rather smeared view of the houses across the street due to the motion of the camera as it tracks the stars. You'll also notice that the end of the telescope tube found its way into the photo. (The camera is mounted on top the telescope.) The middle picture zooms in for a good look at Hale-Bopp's twin tails, the blue ion tail and the yellow dust tail. Finally, the right hand picture closes in further. If you look closely at the large version, you'll see that the comet's head is asymmetrical.

50mm, 5 minutes at f/2.0 on Kodak Royal Gold 400
200mm, 2 minutes at f/4.5 on Kodak Royal Gold 1000
400mm, 2 minutes at f/5.6 on Kodak Royal Gold 1000

February 26 Photos

I also have some Hale-Bopp images taken with a fixed camera on February 26, 1997. The first shows Hale-Bopp in the clouds while the second zooms in for a closeup. Finally, the last image shows Hale-Bopp in the early morning twilight. Notice how much dimmer Hale-Bopp is here, compared with the later pictures.

50mm, 30 seconds at f/1.8 on Kodak Royal Gold 1000.
400mm, 6 seconds at f/5.6 on Kodak Royal Gold 1000.
[Comet Hale-Bopp]
50mm, 6 seconds at f/1.8 on Kodak Royal Gold 1000, 6am EST.
I've photographed Hale-Bopp more recently, but many of those pictures are on slides, and I haven't looked into slide scanning technology yet. I do have a couple of nice slides of Hale-Bopp over the Rochester skyline that will be added when I get my hands on a slide scanner.

Hyakutake: The Great Comet of 1996


I also have a picture of last year's Comet Hyakutake, the Great Comet of 1996. I took it on March 27, 1996 using a zoom lens set on 80mm, f/5.6 and Kodak Royal Gold 1000 exposed for 3 minutes. It was transferred to Photo CD, and I've converted the image to a negative to make the tail more visible.

Other Astro Photos

[The Moon] Except for some Hyakutake pictures, I hadn't previously taken any astrophotographs. Here's a picture of Luna taken on March 13, 1997. I used afocal projection (a fancy term for pointing the camera into the telescope eyepiece) through a TeleVue Genesis (4" f/5 refractor) using a 26mm TeleVue Plossl plus 2.5x Barlow (total 48x). The camera used a 50mm lens wide open, yielding an effective focal length of a little over 2400mm at f/24. With this setup, the auto exposure works fine, and I didn't note down the exposure length. The film was Kodak Royal Gold 400.

I also have a full moon photo, a lunar eclipse photo (Oct. 27, 2004) and the June 8, 2004 transit of Venus.