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Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) shows a huge dust tail (brownish-orange) and a thin (bluish) ion tail On January 18, 2016. Image from eastern Colorado through thin clouds and the temperature was 9 degrees F. The full resolution image shows stars to about magnitude 20. The small galaxy near the to of the frame is NGC 5204. Other faint small galaxies and a galaxy cluster are apparent in the full resolution image.
Technical. This image was obtained with a Canon 7D Mark II 20-megapixel digital camera and 300 mm f/2.8 L IS II lens at f/2.8 and ISO 3200. No dark frame subtraction, no flat fields. Tracking with an Astrotrac and no guiding. The total exposure was 53 minutes (53 one-minute exposures).
During the approximately one hour to make the exposures, the comet moved significantly. The 53 exposures were aligned in two ways: align on the comet head so the combined image had stars trailing, then align on the stars with the comet trailing. For the align on the comet image, the stars were deleted, and for the align on the stars image, the comet was deleted, then the two images combined, all in photoshop.
The Exposure Factors, CEF, CEFA are measures of the relative amounts of light received from a subject. It can be used to fairly compare wildly different lens/telescope apertures and exposure times. For this image:
Modern DSLRs like the 7D Mark II include on sensor dark current suppression and low fixed pattern noise at ISOs around 1600 and higher, making no need for dark frame subtraction. Modern raw converters correct for light fall-off and also correct for hot/dead/stuck pixels. This makes processing low light images easy: simply align and average.
To learn how to obtain stunning images like this, please visit my Extensive Articles on Photography .
See my review of the Canon 7D Mark II and why it is so good for astrophotography: Canon 7D Mark II sensor analysis.
Keywords to this image = astrophoto-1 night low-light digital_astro comet canon_7d2
Image ID: comet.catalina+stars.c01.18.2016.0J6A6400-52.f-1400vs.jpg
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Last updated May 29, 2019