By David H. Levy
David Levy has held a lifelong ardour for comets, and is likely one of the such a lot winning comet discoverers in background. during this publication he describes the gazing thoughts which have been constructed over the years--from visible observations and looking out, to images, via to digital charge-coupled units (CCDs). He combines the historical past of comet looking with the most recent suggestions, displaying how our figuring out of comets has developed through the years. This useful instruction manual is appropriate for newbie astronomers, from those people who are casually attracted to comets and the way to watch them, to those that are looking to commence and extend an staring at software in their personal. Drawing largely from his personal large event, Levy describes how enthusiastic amateurs can discover comets and check out to make new discoveries themselves. David H. Levy is among the word's most excellent beginner astronomers. He has stumbled on seventeen comets, seven utilizing a telescope in his personal yard, and had a minor planet, Asteroid 3673 Levy named in his honor. he's top often called the co-discoverer of the well-known 1994 Shoemaker-Levy nine comet. Levy is often interviewed within the media and succeeded Carl Sagan as technological know-how columnist for Parade journal. He has written and contributed to a couple of books, so much lately David Levy's advisor to the evening Sky (Cambridge, 2001).
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Extra info for David Levy's Guide to Observing and Discovering Comets
At the end of November that year I found Comet Hartley-IRAS only a few days after its discovery! After 863 hours, I was hoping my time was near. The afternoon of Tuesday, November 13, 1984, was cloudy, but a clearing sky at sunset made me cut short a dinner date and rush home to begin my comet search. 1. Comet Levy 1987a (C/1987 A l) photographed by Jim Scotti with the Spacewatch camera at Kitt Peak in Arizona, in January, 1987. Courtesy James V. ScottL scope, from field to field. After about an hour of searching I came across the open star cluster NGC 6009; but just to the south was a diffuse object.
I peered through the eyepiece at the guide star, which was still dancing about like a firefly. All was ready: I pulled the lever and the shutters slowly opened. As Gene grabbed on to them, the guide star settled down. For the next few minutes the wind howled as Gene held on to the shutters from his unsteady position on the chair, trying to keep the telescope steady and himselffrom falling. Meanwhile I tried gamely to keep the guide star centered. Carolyn was scanning films downstairs with her stereo microscope .
Preparing film for exposure The key to effective use of film for comet hunting is to find the finest grain film possible as well as the fastest film possible. The old Tri-X was very fast, ISO speed 400, but its coarse grains make it hard to locate any comets. Per haps the finest grain black and white film available is Kodak's Technical Pan 2415 or its thicker-based cousin 4415. However, this film, meant for copying, is very slow, requiring long exposures. There is a way, however, to increase the film's sensitivity.