Observers: Dewey Vanderhoff, Mack Frost
Location: Polecat Bench, Wyoming
Date: May 4, 1997 04:00 UT
"Celestial Stalactite" guided photo of the comet under a dark cloud was taken from the north rim of Polecat Bench 20 miles NE of Cody Wyoming , overlooking the Sand Coulee badlands.
Since this comet is almost history in our Wyoming skies, I figured it was time to get at least one "Boone and Crockett " trophy head shot posted to the Internet before this big buck comet goes over the hill to the Southern Hemisphere. Just so you'all know we don't just photograph wide angle landscapes with comets in them...
Photo taken Saturday night May 3 at 10 PM- MDT ( 4:00 UT May 4) , Hale-Bopp was dangling under a most persistent lenticular cloud like some kind of celestial stalactite. But we photographed it anyway...after all, in ten days this comet goes south forever. The effect of a comet hanging under a dark cloud is appealing. The perspective/viewing aspect of Hale-Bopp's tails has become enhanced recently, both tails fanning out like a wild turkey or peacock , and developing nice 3D curves.
My old 1967 Nikon F camera was mounted with a Tokina 80-200mm f/2.8 ATX lens, and mated to the barrel of Mack Frost's Meade LX-20 SCT. Exposure was 7 mins wide open at f/2.8 on Fuji Super G 800, at 200 mm focal length. Mack guided the scope nicely.
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