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I Think I Photographed A Comet?

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Was just out taking many pictures of the stars. Had my tripod set up correctly, had my camera on a timer, no wind, perfectly still. Came home to analyze my pictures & found this one!!

post-8895-0-08046600-1332107815_thumb.jp

post-8895-0-67440200-1332107829_thumb.jp

Any thoughts?

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More likely to be a meteor or a satellite. A comet wouldn't move noticeably over a period of even hours and the tail would be completely different. I suspect that it's more likely to be a satellite, but others may have better ideas.

Good spot, anyway.

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Thanks CR, even to photograph an object moving at the speed of a satellite is an achievement in my book!

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It is indeed. Lots of long-term enthusiasts don't often manage to get such clear images.

if it's something you want to do more of, and it you haven't already come across the site, heavens above is good for locating satellites.

http://www.heavens-above.com

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It is indeed. Lots of long-term enthusiasts don't often manage to get such clear images.

if it's something you want to do more of, and it you haven't already come across the site, heavens above is good for locating satellites.

http://www.heavens-above.com

Oh really? Now I am proud of that photo lol!

Thanks for that website, seems really resourceful. Wouldn't mind photographing that ISS satellite!

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Think it's an aeroplane - the dashed line suggests a flashing light going through the image during the exposure.

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Here's one I took earlier tonight looking towards Perseus, and you can see a plane going through in the bottom left corner.

post-717-0-08801400-1332111071_thumb.jpg

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Think it's an aeroplane - the dashed line suggests a flashing light going through the image during the exposure.

It suspected that the flashes were a bit too uneven and it was a bit faint on the whole, but something overflying the UK at altitude is a possibility.

Goku, what was the duration of that shot? The shorter it is, the more likely it is too have picked up something low like an aeroplane.

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It suspected that the flashes were a bit too uneven and it was a bit faint on the whole, but something overflying the UK at altitude is a possibility.

Goku, what was the duration of that shot? The shorter it is, the more likely it is too have picked up something low like an aeroplane.

The duration? Unsure what you mean about that, but it was very short. The image was just a quick snap of the sky. That's not a plane, I live in a flight path, and it'd be much lower than that, and it's flying in the wrong direction. Speke airport is in the opposite direction.

That image shows the plane moving too fast for a picture I would of thought?

Here's one I took earlier tonight looking towards Perseus, and you can see a plane going through in the bottom left corner.

post-717-0-08801400-1332111071_thumb.jpg

Jesus, that's a good picture, was that taken through a telescope? And what camera do you have? :p

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Here's one I took earlier tonight looking towards Perseus, and you can see a plane going through in the bottom left corner.

post-717-0-08801400-1332111071_thumb.jpg

That's a piece of black card with flour on....

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The first thing I thought of was an aeroplane leaving a contrail - it doesn't have to be going to a local airport - it could have been a military aircraft - then as you say a comet you should be able to work it out if you have the direction and elevation of the object because the tail should be coming out from the direction of the sun - meteorite, that is a good possibility - satellite, I would have thought that unless it was in a decaying orbit and re-entering the atmosphere it would not have a tail.

Good photograph though, not something we see everyday and even more take a photograph of it.

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Jesus, that's a good picture, was that taken through a telescope? And what camera do you have? :p

It was a 5 minute exposure complete with tracking. Just a bog standard Canon EOS 1100D, which is their entry level DSLR. You can make out a darker band within the Milky Way in the central bit of the photo too.

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Great picture - as others have said most likely a plane or possibly a meteor. It's certainly well worth looking at www.heavens-above.com, which is kept pretty up to date. According to them there is one comet - C/2009 P1 Garradd - which you might just see with binoculars or even catch with a very long exposure if the sky's really dark. It's currently just above the Plough (as generally seen on star maps - as seen on spring evenings it's to the left of the 'pointers' in the direction of the Pole Star).

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How long was the exposure do you know? if it was long then I would hazard a guess at it being a high-alt meteorological balloon. Short exposure then possibly a lantern?

Given no other stars in the image show signs of movement it's without doubt that the object you photographed is moving itself objectively to the exposure, if it was a simple case of moving the tripod accidentally then every star you see in frame would show the same 'wobble' effect. So whatever it is depends on height, which we can gauge by getting a rough exposure timing.

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How long was the exposure do you know? if it was long then I would hazard a guess at it being a high-alt meteorological balloon. Short exposure then possibly a lantern?

Given no other stars in the image show signs of movement it's without doubt that the object you photographed is moving itself objectively to the exposure, if it was a simple case of moving the tripod accidentally then every star you see in frame would show the same 'wobble' effect. So whatever it is depends on height, which we can gauge by getting a rough exposure timing.

Around 0.8 seconds I think?

It was a 5 minute exposure complete with tracking. Just a bog standard Canon EOS 1100D, which is their entry level DSLR. You can make out a darker band within the Milky Way in the central bit of the photo too.

Wow, I really want that camera. Sounds like you get a lot of freedom in regards to the settings.

Thanks, I will get saving :D

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I saw something whiz past in the sky too when I was looking at Jupiter and Venus

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Depending on light meter settings, 0.8 seconds would triangulate the object as being significantly high up in relation to the size of the 'streak.' A satellite would look more linear moving across the sky, so no doubt it's a small meteor which burned up above as you took that 0.8s exposure. The 'flare-up' within the tail also puts motion to this.

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Cheers for the information SJ. Regardless of what it was, I've photographed something that is very hard to capture (even if it was a fluke) and I'm proud of that! If it was a meteorite, then I've photographed something from another world, so epic! :D

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