Comet Bradfield 2004/F4 from Cactus Flats on April 27,2004
best viewed in 1680x1050
Well, I did see Bradfield that morning. After driving 45 minutes out to Cactus Flats, setup & configuration was finished
about 2:30am. Bradfield broke the horizon at 3:31am, but could not see the comet naked eye. Using a piggybacked Pentax
MX SLR with a 100 mm lens at f/3.0, and aiming it due east, centering on M31 & Mirach using Kodak 400 slide film (remember
that technology) I took a 15 min. exposure. Then a little left shift, to center the comet for the second shot and exposed the
film for 12 minutes.
About 4:30 am, just noticeable, was a lightening of the horizon. The tail on this Bradfield was over 11* long. And yes,
that is M31 in the center & on the left image, at the upper left edge is the nebula NGC 281 in Cassiopeia. With a 14 mm eyepiece,
in the C-14 (279x) the coma appeared oblong, not round. Sunrise began about 6:15am. (Brian Webb from the Space Archive has
added the right image on his web site Space Archive which lists the Vandenberg Rocket launch times.)
The rising sun necessitated
a shift to narrow field imaging. These three exposures were taken through
the 80 mm,..................
7, 5, 5 minutes long. The Stellarvue showed a slender linear tail 5* - 6*, I noticed no knots of dust/gas and the coma was almost
a pinpoint of the most beautiful Azure blue, almost pastel.
See the jet lights.
...and the residual contrail.
So I observed Bradfield through the 80 mm until the comet was completely obscured by sunlight.
This image displays some of the resultant contrail.
a shot of the Crescent Moon just after it broke the horizon.
Very strange Moon
Bradfield was most difficult to view naked eye that morning, with a combination
slight haze on the horizon & it's proximity to the Sun, with averted vision, I visually captured it only
once, at 4:50. But, in both the 80 mm & C-14 it was very striking!! On to bigger & better comets......
Ya'll have a good day now, ya hear? 10/15/10