For reasons only an astronomer
(professional or amateur) would understand, I
got in the car at around 9:00 pm and drove to an
open field around 25 miles south of Erie, PA.
The glow of the Erie city was north of the ridge
that runs along I90 as I chose an ice-covered
hilltop from which to hunt for and hopefully
photograph comet Lulin.
Clear skies in Erie are
rare enough that the trip was worth the effort.
Melanie braved the 13 degree air to ride along
with me, although she wisely remained in the car
with the heater running whilst I got out to do
my comet viewing.
advised that Lulin should be visible with the
naked eye. Maybe someone with better eyesight
than me could see it, but it required the
assistance of my 7x35mm binoculars to find it.
Fortunately, Lulin's position near a readily
identifiable group of stars at the rear of Leo,
and especially with Saturn's presence, made
finding the fuzzy blob easy enough.
Minolta and tripod were nearby for an attempt to
photograph Lulin, but since its timer will only
keep the "shutter" open for 60 seconds, and
because the comet was so faint, I figured it
would not be worth the trouble. I'll have to
leave the breathtaking images to the people with
real motorized telescopes and cameras built for
- Kirt Blattenberger
RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster