I’ve Got a Date With a Comet!

After a lifetime of obsessive photography and a decade of professional, I tried astrophotography  for the first time in 2015 while I was in the Highland region of Assynt, Scotland. I spent four nights chasing the Aurora Borealis and learning by trial and error (more error) how to take a photo of the night sky. It was exhilarating and frustrating and one of my favorite memories.


Maybe that’s what life is… a wink of the eye and winking stars.
~Jack Kerouac, Selected Letters, 1940-1956

The universe conspired to help and I am now about to take a class with one of my very favorite people – my brother (everyone in our immediate family is a photographer – it’s kind of cool.) I shall now learn how to do it correctly!

Wouldn’t you know, immediately afterwards, the Comet Catalina is coming to visit for the first and last time ever. So on January 17th, in the early morning hours, you will find us staring at the sky.

A new year’s treat for binoculars, as 2016 begins Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) now sweeps through planet Earth’s predawn skies near bright Arcturus, alpha star of Bootes. But this telescopic mosaic from December 21 follows the pretty tails of the comet across a field of view as wide as 10 full moons. The smattering of distant galaxies and faint stars in the background are in the constellation Virgo. Trailing behind the comet’s orbit, Catalina’s dust tail fans out below and left in the frame. Its ion tail is angled toward the top right, away from the Sun and buffeted by the solar wind. On January 17, the outward bound visitor from the Oort Cloud will make its closest approach to Earth, a mere 110 million kilometers away, seen near bright stars along the handle of the Big Dipper. ~NASA

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