Pictures of Comet Hyakutake (C/1996 B2)

by John Pane

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I am an amateur photographer. I took this picture of Comet Hyakutake (C/1996 B2) on 24 March 1996 at around 2300 EST (25 March 1996 0400 UT), from a relatively dark location in Economy, PA, USA (40 37 24 N 80 11 30 W), about 20 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. I used an everyday 35mm SLR camera mounted on a tripod, with a "normal" 50mm lens set at f/2.0, Kodak Royal Gold 1000 color print film, and an exposure time of about 20 seconds.

I got the picture into the computer by scanning the negative directly. Then I used Photoshop to enhance the contrast. All of the work in PhotoShop was performed on the image as a whole (no retouching).

The tail, as visible in this photo, is about 22 degrees long, or about 85% the length of the big dipper. The three bright stars that form an arc from near the center to the upper left corner are the first three stars in the handle of the big dipper.

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This second image was made by overlaying the above photograph with another one that was taken moments before it. The result was a reduction in the background noise, so I didn't have to enhance it as much with Photoshop. Again, all of the operations were done on the whole image (no retouching).

Copyright 1996 John Pane.
Permission for non-commercial use of these images is granted. If you publish them, please credit me, and if possible, include the URL for this page: I would appreciate a copy of the publication (address below).

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