Observing report for 14 February 1997




Comet Hale-Bopp


I observed from my usual site west of Laramie from about 11:50-12:35UT on 14 Feb. Unfortunately, after being clear most of the night, some patchy clouds were present in the east. Despite this, I was able to see about 3 degrees of the plasma tail naked-eye, with a limiting magnitude in the high 5's near the comet when the clouds parted. Altair was at nearly the same altitude, and based upon a naked-eye "out-out" test without my glasses, I estimated a total magnitude for H-B of about +1.3 +/- 0.3. I didn't get to do any extensive binocular observations because I was desparately watching for breaks in the clouds to get some photos. Fortunately, the photos turned out much better than I thought they would, and I've posted several shots through 50mm and 135mm lenses on Royal Gold 1000, which provide a good comparison with my previous 135mm shots on Fuji Super G Plus 800. The 135mm shots suffered from a bit of wind shake (it was about 15F with 10-20 mph winds). The photos are available via my wide-field astrophotography page.

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