Comet McNaught II

Comet McNaught (C/2006 P1)

This spectacular comet, currently reported as the brightest in 30 years, was readily visible from even the heart of downtown Seattle. After work, I hustled down to Pier 59 for a clear west view of the sunset. After only a few minutes I made out the faint coma of the comet. After the minutes ticked by, its amazing tail grew more distinct, despite the still-orange twilight.

My images from tuesday were fine, but I wanted to take more pictures with a more dramatic foreground. I thought the Seattle skyline would be great. So I used Xephem and Google maps to figure out the best possible location for this to occur. My best guess was somewhere in Medina. I first stopped at a park in Kirkland because from that vantage point the sun set directly behind the skyline. But I knew that the comet had a higher declination so I'd have to drive further south for the prefect vantage. I spotted a good clear view on the way to Medina Beach Park, but continued on just to check if the park was the best place. I found out soon enough that that would put the comet setting well south of downtown. I backtracked to the building lot and set up on top of a dirt pile. It wasn't perfect, but it was within a few thousand feet of perfect. After I left I saw that there were no other vantage points even close.

I switched between using the Canon EF 70-200mm F4L with and without the 2x tamron teleconvertor.