Comet 2001/A1 Leonard

Dec 26, Canon 1100D, 100mm lens, piggybacked on Meade LX-90, ISO 200, f4, 90 secs

Comet Leonard has been putting on a show for us in the southern hemisphere since mid to late December 2021 and I’ve taken images with my modest equipment, a Canon 1100D with 100mm lens, and exposures of either a few seconds on a tripod or >= 30 second exposures with the camera piggybacked on my 20 year old (hard to believe) 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain Meade LX-90.

These are all from my fairly light-polluted suburban home site, at least low in the western sky, so it’s a battle between gain (ISO), exposure time, f-stop.

Dec 25, Canon 1100D, 100mm lens, ISO 800, f2, 7 secs; a short satellite trail is evident at right

The following shows the comet’s movement with respect to reference stars over 6 days.

Comet’s path with respect to background stars (arrowed) from Dec 25 to Dec 30

I’ve been posting images to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter mostly.

Michael Mattiazo’s Southern Comets page has some amazingly detailed images of the comet (look for Leonard in the left-hand side panel) taken with much better equipment and under darker skies.

Having just passed perihelion and with Luna encroaching on the night sky darkness, the days of good views of Comet Leonard are numbered. It’s been nice to have this over the holidays though.

I find that from time to time, I need events like this to reinvigorate my enthusiasm.

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