Photo Trip to Eagle Rock Meadow for Comets T7 LINEAR and Q4 NEAT

June 5, 2004

Friday night June 5 was a crystal clear day after a weak cold front moved through. Comet T7 LINEAR put on a good show for the southern hemisphere, but was not going to be easy for northern hemisphere observers. Our best opportunity was this weekend, as the waning moon gave a couple hours of darkness and T7 LINEAR was 15 degrees up in the southwest at the end of twilight. T7 LINEAR was now receeding from both the earth and the sun and fading rapidly. I spotted it near Alphard and guessed it was magnitude 6, but with a faint horizontal ion tail which might be colorful with some luck.

The "action" pictures below were taken with the Dimage 5 digital camera, set on the maximum possible time exposure for this camera - 30 seconds, and at f/3.5 ISO 800 with the zoom set at wide angle. Chris took most of these, finding that 2 seconds of red led light was about right to illuminate the foreground.

I set up the 8" Meade LX10 (left) and guided with the main scope while shooting Provia 400 slide film through the f/4.5 Orion ShortTube piggybacked.

Shahram arrived late and hurried to set up his Takahashi mount and ToUcam. Chris Angelos arrived soon after and helped both Shahram and I with some photo duties. Hopefully Shahram will send some of his pictures soon. My slides need to be developed and scanned, so check back later.

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