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Green comet: Viewing, photography tips for Vancouver, BC

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Tips for viewing comets in 50,033-year orbits around the Sun from the Lower Mainland. Everything you need to know is here.

A passion for deep space and photography is not all it takes to become an astrophotography expert.

But young local space enthusiasts have spent countless hours learning advanced mechanisms for capturing detailed images of celestial bodies. The results of his efforts are compelling and have attracted the attention of numerous publications and his NASA. One of his photographs is the coveted ‘image of today’s astronomy’.”

Liron Gertsman’s razor-sharp images may seem effortless as if you had just positioned your tripod at just the right moment to capture a breathtaking space event in a flash, but deep space photography is It’s a long and multifaceted process.

On Wednesday (February 1), comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), a rare green comet that hasn’t passed Metro Vancouver’s skies in a whopping 50,000 years, will make its closest approach to Earth. In general, it was about the same time that Neanderthals last walked the earth.

Metro Vancouverites may be able to spot the comet with the naked eye, but if you’d like to see more details, it’s a good idea to bring 40-50mm binoculars or a small telescope.

Visible and invisible

As Gartzman said vancouver is awesome, without additional help, the comet doesn’t look exactly as you might hope. He said it looked like a star with a dim glow around it. It was impossible to see the tail and it didn’t look green.

But that’s not because comets aren’t green. Instead, the human eye is unable to perceive the striking colors of the dark night sky (though many of us would like to be nocturnal, we are not).

But what makes this comet so interesting is the noticeable turquoise coloration that Gertzmann was able to see before he began the editing process.

“In one picture, it looks completely ‘turquoise’ with a basic camera mounted on a tripod, without any fancy setup,” he explained. It looks like a star, so it’s a good way to know you’re actually looking at a comet.”

It’s the “tail” detail that needs editing. Or, as Gertzman pointed out, both of the comet’s “tails”.

“Photographs of comets show two tails: an ion tail and a dust tail. The ion tail (also called the gas tail) is a fairly straight gray or bluish gas ejected from the comet. It looks like a flow of particles from a comet ( [the] Sun). So the ion’s tail points directly toward the sun,” he explained.

“The dust tail consists of solid particles ejected by radiation from the sun. The dust tail is not luminous, but the solid particles are directly illuminated by sunlight. The dust tail spreads over a wider ( (It tends to fan out more). It’s warmer than the ion tail.”

Also visible is the comet’s bright turquoise atmosphere, known as the coma. Outside the city, you might be able to see it with the naked eye, but without a camera, it’s difficult to see the colors.

Catch a Green Comet Passing Earth

Gertzmann used more sophisticated tools to create the final image, including a mirrorless camera with a telephoto lens, a tripod, and a Skywatcher star tracker. The Star Tracker fits on a tripod and allows astrophotographers to track stars.

“If you point [the star tracker] At Polaris, it rotates at essentially the same speed as Earth, or at the apparent speed of the sky rotating with Earth. This allows us to take very long exposures and reveal a lot of detail in the night sky without looking like star streaks. This is what usually happens when you’re on a spinning planet and don’t have a star tracker,” he explained.

Gertzmann also set up the camera after 2:15 a.m., after the moon had set on January 29, when the image was taken. He stayed out until about 6:30 am to collect enough frames for the final photo.

The editing process, which took several days, involved a technique called image stacking, in which multiple photos are placed side by side and averaged for each pixel.

“Basically creates a much sharper and brighter image [that allows you to see] The detail in these tails is much better than in a single image,” he pointed out.

Weather forecasts in Vancouver aren’t calling for clear skies Wednesday night when the comet makes its closest approach to Earth, but Gertsman stresses that there are some opportunities to spot the comet in the days that follow. Of course, weather permitting).

The last stunning image he took near Squamish was taken about three days before the big night, and local space enthusiasts will have a chance to capture an equally bright image in the next week or so. must.

follow gartsman Instagram or check out his pics website.

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