Comet Halley with Milky Way


March 22, 1986, approximately 4:00 a.m.

Joshua Tree National Monument, California.

Although it was relatively small and dim, on its 1986 appearance Comet Halley appeared to sail past some of the most spectacular regions of our Milky Way galaxy. The brightest stars to the upper right of the comet form the "teapot" of Sagittarius, and further to the upper right is the direction of the center of the galaxy, an area rich in star clusters, nebulae and dark bands of dust.

The star images in this photo are not perfect points because I took it using a primitive home-made "barn-door" tracker. Consisting mainly of two pieces of wood connected by a door hinge, this is the cheapest kind of tracking mount you can make. Hand-turning a screw at the rate of one revolution per minute separates the boards at the sidereal rate, and allows your camera to follow the stars across the sky.

Camera: Canon AE-1 35mm SLR, on barn-door tracker.
Film: Kodak Ektachrome P1600 slide.
Lens: 50mm at f/1.8, 60 seconds.

Scanned using a Nikon Coolscan LS-10E 35mm film scanner.

Revised: June 22, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Joe Orman
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