Photographer captures Comet Ponce-Brooks during April’s eclipse

An astrophotographer captured an image showing comet 12P/Pons-Brooks in the sky during the April 8 total solar eclipse, and also caught Jupiter and Uranus in the frame.

If you’re a regular visitor to the BBC Sky at Night magazine website, you’ll know that we spent a lot of time covering the Comet 12b/Bones-Brooks story in early 2024.

Chart predicting the position of comet 12P/Pons-Brooks during the April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse. Credit: Pete Lawrence

Aside from the total solar eclipse over North America on April 8, this may be the biggest astronomical story of the year.

So we were thrilled to see Comet Ponce-Brooks visible during the April 8 eclipse.

It felt like these two great stories were culminating in an intimate embrace on one of the biggest days of the year.

Astrophotographer Stephen Hamel photographed the solar eclipse in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada and captured this image of comet 12P/Pons-Brooks – along with Jupiter and Uranus – during the event.

Image of comet 12P/Pons-Brooks with Jupiter and Uranus taken during the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada at 19:20 UTC.  Credit: Stephen Hamel.  Equipment: Nikon D3200 camera, Samyang 135mm lens, tripod.  Settings: ISO 400, f2.8 and 1 second exposure.
Image of comet 12P/Pons-Brooks with Jupiter and Uranus taken during the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada at 19:20 UTC. Credit: Stephen Hamel. Equipment: Nikon D3200 camera, Samyang 135mm lens, tripod. Click to expand. Settings: ISO 400, f2.8 and 1 second exposure.

But, Stephen says, capturing the comet is a shot in the dark (albeit a well-timed and skillful shot in the dark, we say).

„I was hesitant to photograph Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks because the odds of getting an image of the comet were slim to none, and I knew things would be very busy for me during totality,” Stephen says.

My main objective during the whole was to manually operate my main DSLR camera to get as many pictures as possible in those short two minutes.

“Following the Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks required a different camera-lens setup (Nikon D3200+Samyang 135mm), which was more complex and meant production.

„I also know that the parallel hydrogen alpha telescope must be focused and refocused after the third contact to obtain the partial phases.”

READ  Building a bed and desk

But he didn’t want this to put him off, Stephen promised.

„I still decided to try the 12P/Pons-Brooks capture because it was a unique opportunity and was going to provide the perfect reference point on the sky to quickly target the Jupiter camera.

“My thoughts were: 'I’ll take one picture, that’s it, I’ll enjoy the rest of the whole thing’. That’s what I did, and it worked!

„I judged the ISO and exposure length, quickly framed the shot with Jupiter and the horizon as reference points and took the picture.

„After operating two DSLRs, I still had time to enjoy the totality of the eclipse. In retrospect, I did everything recommended not to do for someone’s first eclipse!”

Stephen’s Full Solar Eclipse Movie

It was in the days after the eclipse that the Stephens Ponce-Brooks film really came to light.

“After the eclipse, I took a quick look at the 12P/Pons-Brooks image on the back screen of the D3200, thought it was overexposed, and put it aside while I looked at the rest of the collection.

„It wasn’t until two weeks later that I finally transferred the image to my computer. I gave it a fair chance. I lowered the exposure in Lightroom (good thing I shot it in RAW), adjusted the contrast a bit and showed it with the 12P/Pons-Brooks Uranus.

„Final account of my two-minute imaging session of the eclipse: a corona, diamond ring, prominences, chromosphere, two comets (12P/Pons-Brooks and SOHO-5008) and two planets.

„I shot more stuff in those two minutes than I had in the previous six overcast winter months, all from my backyard.”

Check out Stephen’s work via his Instagram page @stephan_astrophotography.

details

  • Nikon D3200 camera
  • Samyang 135mm lens
  • Tripod
  • ISO 400, f/2.8
  • 1 second exposure
  • 7:20 PM UTC
READ  The moon is shrinking, causing earthquakes near the planned Artemis landing sites.

Are you an astronomer? Whether amateur or professional, send us your pictures and they could appear in a future issue of BBC Sky at Night magazine.

Dodaj komentarz

Twój adres e-mail nie zostanie opublikowany. Wymagane pola są oznaczone *