This is Comet Machholz
(C/2004 Q2) imaged while in the constellation Eridanus. This comet was
discovered on August 27, 2004 by Donald Machholz of Colfax, California and
is his tenth comet discovered.
This fifteen minute exposure
demonstrates very well the motion of a comet relative to the background
stars. What appears to be poor tracking is actually the relative
motion of the comet for the length of the exposure.
At the time of this image,
this comet had a thin tail that would be extending up and right from the
coma as oriented in this image. Unfortunately, the comet set behind
some trees before enough exposures could be made to show the tail.
On this date, the comet had an estimated
magnitude of 5.4 and was just visible in binoculars from urban skies.
On January 7, 2004, this comet will be
very near the Pleiades star cluster and should have brightened somewhat to
perhaps magnitude 4.1.
Telescope: Orion 80 ED
Camera: Canon 20D
Mount: LX200GPS, Unguided
Capture Software: EOS Viewer
f/7.5, ISO 800
Exposure Count: 30 x 30 seconds
each, 15 minutes total exposure.
Method: Aligned, combined and post
processed in ImagesPlus.