Comets


Icy balls hurling through space from the outer reaches of our solar system, comets have always captured the attention and imagination of humans. Ancient people thought a comets’ appearance was a sign of bad luck. Some saw them as a predictor of great events, or the rise or fall of a leader.  Far from being cowed, AAA members have sought out these harbingers of doom and tried over the years to observe and even photograph the elusive, tailed objects from our New York City skies.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Comet Holmes, (C/2007 17P)

Comet 17P/Holmes by Tony Hoffman

Comet Holmes (c/2007 17P) by Tony Hoffman

Comet 17P/Holmes by Tony Hoffman

Comet Holmes (c/2007 17P) by Tony Hoffman

Comet 17P/Holmes by Tony Hoffman

Comet Holmes (c/2007 17P) by Tony Hoffman

Comet 17P/Holmes

Comet Holmes (c/2007 17P) by Tony Hoffman

Comet 17P/Holmes

Comet Holmes (c/2007 17P) by Tony Hoffman

 

Comet Swan (C/2006 m4) and globular cluster M13, Oct. 28, 2006

Photo by AAA member Tony Hoffman

Comet SWAN is the bright very blue object a little left of center near the bottom. Cluster M13 is the fuzzy object towards the upper right forming an isosceles triangle with two stars.

Comet C/2006 m4 (Swan) and M13 by Tony Hoffman

Comet Swan (C/2006 m4) and M13 by Tony Hoffman

 

Comet McNaught (C/2006 P1) by AAA member Tony Hoffman

Tony Hoffman caught this photo of Comet McNaught from the Empire State Building

Tony Hoffman caught this photo of Comet McNaught from the Empire State Building

Tony Hoffman caught this second photo of Comet McNaught from the Empire State Building

Tony Hoffman caught this second photo of Comet McNaught from the Empire State Building

 

Comet Hale-Bopp (C1995 O1)

Photo by AAA member Tony Hoffman, who wrote this account:

I photographed Comet Hale-Bopp from Fahnestock State Park, Hudson Valley, New York, April 4, 1997 at an AAA observing session. The photo was taken with a 50mm SLR mounted on a fixed tripod and an exposure of about 30 seconds.

I took nearly a whole roll of photos of the comet that night, but this one really stood out.

Comet Hale-Bopp by Tony Hoffman

Comet Hale-Bopp (C1995 O1) by Tony Hoffman

 

This photograph was taken by Craig Scull and Elena Danaila at Fahnestock State Park on April 7th. It is a 20 second exposure on Fuji 800 pushed to 1600 using a 50mm f/1.9 lens.

Comet Hale-Bopp by Craig Scull and Elena Danaila

Comet Hale-Bopp by Craig Scull and Elena Danaila

 

Comet Lulin (C/2007 N3)

Photo by AAA member Art Kunhardt

To shoot Comet Lulin, I used a Fuji S6000 digital camera. The exposure was 15 sec. with an ISO of 800. The camera was attached to the Celestron C-8 telescope with an eyepiece projection setup. I took several photos a few minutes apart and observed the motion of the comet. The photos were taken the night of Feb. 24, 2009, at Fahnestock State Park. Steve,Ben and I were the only ones there. The night was clear and cold.

Comet Lulin by Art Kunhardt

Comet Lulin (C/2007 N3) by Art Kunhardt

 

Comet Pojmanski (C/2006 A1) below the Dolphin from Ridgewood, Queens, March 8, 2006.

AAA member Tony Hoffman reports from his home: This was a 10-second exposure at ISO 200 with my small digital camera (Canon SD550). The comet was very cooperative, rising in the one area out my kitchen window where I have clear sky down to maybe 10 degrees above the horizon.

Comet Pojmanski (C/2006 A1) below the Dolphin by Tony Hoffman

Comet Pojmanski (C/2006 A1) below the Dolphin by Tony Hoffman

 

 Comet Hyakutake

This photograph was taken by AAA member Artie Kunhardt at Fahnestock State Park on March 24th. It is a 10 minute exposure on 400 speed Scotch slide film pushed 1 stop using a 500mm f/8 Tokina lens.

Comet Hyakutake by Artie Kunhardt

Comet Hyakutake by Artie Kunhardt

This photograph was taken by AAA member Mike O’Melia in North Western New Jersey on March 27th at about 1:00am. It is a 2 minute exposure on 400 speed Fuji slide film using a 50mm f/1.4 camera lens stopped down to f/2.0.

Comet Hyakutake by Mike O'Melia

Comet Hyakutake by Mike O’Melia

Comet Hyakutake by Michael O'Gara

Comet Hyakutake by Michael O’Gara