Great Comets of the Recent Past

Halley's Comet  P/Halley

I observed Halley's Comet several times in 1985 and 1986 but this morning was extra special.    Here is what I included in my journal from that morning:
I woke up this morning and found clear skies for Halley's Comet.  It was impressive!  I had a little trouble finding it but after I did it was easy to see with the naked eye.  When I first found it it was maybe 8-10 degrees from the horizon.  To the naked eye it appeared as a fuzzy star and its tail could be seen if one looked hard enough.  Maybe 1 to 2 degrees of tail could be seen with the naked eye.   With binoculars it was different. It's nucleus and coma were large maybe half to three quarters the diameter of the moon.  It had a tail extending 3 to 5 degrees in the binoculars.  Being 15 - 20 degrees on the horizon diminishes its view slightly.  It was higher up than I had expected and it wasn't terribly diminished by horizon haze like most astronomers predicted.  My dad and mom saw it.  Dad said that the nucleus was basketball-sized.  I took many pictures with my wide angle lens and 2 with my telephoto.  It was impressive to say the least.

Danny Bush
March 21, 1986

I was 18 years old when I took this photo.  This was the reason that I got into photography in the first place.  I wanted to record the visit of Halley's Comet.

Another view of Halley from the same morning as the one above.


A picture showing the rig that I used to get the pictures above.
A self portrait in the brightening twilight on that cold March morning
I was fortunate enough to have this photo published in a book entitled Looking Back: Amateur Adventures with Halley's Comet 1985-1986.   The book was written by David Deskins of Pikeville, Kentucky.  It was published by Intrinsic Pub. Corp. in 1987.   The book is now out of print. 







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