Ok, so far this is the 4th time I have tried to post this on WordPress. Not only does Mother Nature want to deny me, it seems that WP doesn’t want to let you see the minimal images that I did mange to capture.
Anyway, I began planning my perfect image over the weekend. I decided to take my images from the best vantage point I could possibly find…Dume Point in Malibu.
A perfect view over the Pacific ocean, I would be able to image for a longer time and get more of the comet. Hopefully, I would even be able to get some images of the planets as well.
The day was bright and sunny in Pasadena and Los Angeles (the haze is smog). Things were looking great! But as I approached the coast (insert dramatic music here), this started to go wrong….very wrong.
The marine layer had come in early! Noooooooooo!
But the thick fog was covering the entire coast for miles in either direction and far out to sea. 😦
Thinking quickly, I was bound and determined not to miss this opportunity. Checking the GPS, I was near Topanga Canyon.
A quick right off of Pacific Coast Highway and I was headed above the cloud bank!
The excitement of my pursuit of a comet may be too intense for non-astronomers. You have been warned.
Faster and faster I sped past the twists and turns like James Bond in an Astin Martin (really, no more than 25mph because these roads are treacherous). Going every up and west till I found a spot. No, not just a spot, the perfect spot (at least one that I could set everything up without being run over).
There, in the center of the map image above, was the place. I set up my equipment and began the wait for sunset.
Sunset came in a spectacular fashion (due to the heavy smog from L.A., those of you not in a polluted city will never see these sunset, which is probably a good thing).
Shortly thereafter, I spotted the sliver of the Moon.
The hunt was on! The gathered throng (well all 8 of us that could fit in the turn-out) began the search. Eyes started scanning the sky for comet signs. Comets Ho! Came the cry from one of the attending comet hunters. PANSTARRS was in sight.
I dashed over to my equipment and started imaging. Then I realized I had selected the lenses for tonight expedition based on a wide-field premise. Damn the marine layer! I cursed while searching my equipment bag for a different lens. Drat, none to be had. Resigning myself to only wide-field shots I returned and snapped away.
A faint smudge to the left of the Moon was all I captured of the elusive prey. Once again denied by Mother Nature.
I imaged until, at last, the comet had passed beyond my sight.
And as the twilight’s last gleaming was captured, I began to pack my equipment and head home to view the spectacular. Slowly winding streets turned into freeways and a way home. An adventure to be sure, but I must figure out what sacrifice M.N. demands of me so that, for once, she does not deny my quest to see and image her in all her glory. Alas, I may never know, but I cannot give up. Call me Ishmael.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +. If you need help with any patent, trademark, or copyright issue, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation by sending me an email or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.