After successfully finding and imaging Comet Panstarrs last night (Got Panstarrs?), I decided to try something different. My goal was to shoot a long time series which could later be processed and assembled into a movie showing the comet in time-lapse as it set.
While considering this project, Pat suggested that we try a different location where we could gets a clearer shot of the horizon. So we drove 25 miles north from Portal to San Simon, AZ where we enjoyed a lovely view of the Dos Cabezas Mountains to the west.
Arriving 20 minutes after sunset, I quickly set up my equipment: a Nikon D90 and Nikkor 18-200 VR zoom lens for the image sequence, and a Nikon D7000 and Nikkor 80-400 VR zoom lens for still shots. By the time I was ready, it was now dark enough to search for Panstarrs. Pat spotted it first at 6:55 pm. Panstarrs seemed a bit brighter than last night (March 10), but perhaps that was because it was a few degrees higher and not quit as deeply immersed in the glow of twilight. We enjoyed views of the comet in binoculars for several minutes before I “went to work.”
A remote cable release timer allowed me to automatically shoot an image of Panstarrs and the Dos Cabezas Mountains every 3 seconds. I used the other camera with the 80-400 zoom to shoot occasional stills as the comet slowly set. By 7:20 pm, the show was over. We packed up and headed home to download and begin processing the images.
The assembled Panstarrs movie appears below. Tomorrow, the crescent Moon joins the comet for a not-to-be-missed conjunction!