Accidental Comet Macholz photo
By bnitz on Jan 10, 2005
After about 4000 photos including Christmas 2004, the front "zoom" lens element of my Casio QV-4000 digital camera became unseated from the body. The remaining lens parts only allowed ultra-wide angle shots. The replacement, a Sony DSC-V3, is much faster at capturing the fast moving emotions of our toddler. Shortly after I took the first astro photo with my new digital camera, I learned that Comet Macholz was near the Pleiades and should appear within my photo. Yes, a dim and barely visible fuzzy spot appeared in the photo. The comet hunter who found this when it was much dimmer and lost in a sea of stars must have amazingly good eyesight, knowledge of the sky and a dark viewing site. I tried some experimental photos with the broken QV-4000 because its F2.0 lens and 60 second exposures were more suitable for astrophotography. Here is a 60 second exposure at F2.0 The comet is the first bright blob below and to the right of the Pleiades "microdipper", towards the bottom of the picture: Pleiades in Japanese is "Suburu." If you look at the Suburu logo, you'll see this mini constellation (asterism). We finished 2004 with a short, brisk sail on the Irish Sea on December 31. The wide angle view of the broken camera caught the Sunset along with the fact that it was too windy to put up more than a small jib. Later that night the boat's owner showed me the output of his windfarm quickly rise towards a megawatt per turbine. Winter is here.