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Vanderhoff Images of Comet Hale-Bopp

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Observers: Dewey Vanderhoff, Mack Frost
Location: Cody, Wyoming
Date: April 12, 1997 03:15-06:00 UT

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While you were at the Comet Chaser's gala in Pasadena last night, we were freeezing our appendages 10 miles east of Cody Wyoming photographing the MIR pspace station and Hale-Bopp once again.

Using OrbitTrak 2.1.5 to get MIR's orbit, and plugging that file into ASTRO MPJ 1.4 for a starfield plot, we wre able to photograph the 200-ton station with the Comet at 10:30 PM- MDT ( 4:30 UT April 12 ). At the time, Mir was cruising over the US-Canada border about 890 range miles away over southern British Columbia.

The photo shows Mack Frost observing thru binoculars while I photographed him from 100 feet away. I illuminated his pickup truck with a flashlight filtered for daylight ; 60 second exposure at f/2.0 on a Nikon F2AS camera and 35mm lens; Fuji Super G 800 film ( 4 seconds lighting time on each swath of the truck ) . Mir is passing thru the central star at the "hinge" of Cassiopaiea. The comet is near Algol in Perseus, hovering over Heart Mountain on the horizon.

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"Roadside Distraction" is a self portrait. The bright crescent moon, Pleiades. Orion, and Hale-Bopp float over a sub-luminal photographer alongside his friend Mack Frost's 1978 Chevrolet truck parked on Eagle Pass in the badlands of northwest Wyoming. 45 second exposure at f/ 2.8 on Fuji Super G 800; Nikon F2AS and 35mm Nikkor f/2.0 AIS lens ; photographer outlined himself with his military surplus elbow flashlight with its night-vision red filter...any kind of body activity duirng long time exposures to stave off the wind chill helps... might as well make it a useful motion...

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"Spaceport" Looking back up Highway 14-16-20 towards Cody, Wyoming some ten miles away (down in a valley beneath the next ridgeline ). The four day old Moon, even as a relatively thin crescent, is way overexpoosed in this photo relative to the background sky objects and the Comet. But it adds a nice touch to Orion, the Pleaides, Hyades, Hale-Bopp and Co. We had just watched Mercury go over the NW horizon. The highway is lit up from passing traffic. Taken Friday April 11 at 9:15 PM-MDT local time

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Wyoming Twilight" After watching the MIR space station literally "kiss" the Planet Mercury at 8:51 PM- MDT as it rose over the horizon , we followed the little planet as it set. The two lines along the lower left of the image frame point towards Mercury's location in the photo...it's popping out of the bottom of the clouds Nikon F2AS/ 35mm Nikkor lens / Fuji Super G-800/ 3:00 UT April 12

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An interesting view of Comet Hale-Bopp about to pass behind landmark Heart Mountain ( 8400 feet) as seen from the eastern edges of urban cody Wyoming at midnight Friday April 11 ( 6:00 UT April 12). Horrendous light pollution and humidity aside, it was a spectacular vista for an urban perspective. But after observing Hale Bopp for the past four hours from a vantage in the badlands desert away from city lights and nearly a thousand feet higher in elevation, it was a dramatic contrast ...the lack of contrast, actually. It emphasized to me and my firned Mack frost how inportant it is for people wanting a serious view of Hale Bopp in its remaining visage to GET OUT OF TOWN! Head for the country, folks.

Photo taken with Nikon F3 camera and Tokina 80-200 mm f/2.8 ATX lens ; 135mm focal length+/- ; shot wide open at f/ 2.8 for 15 seconds on Fuji Super-G 800...lots of the lens' anti reflections and ghost images from the bright city lights were removed in Photoshop to restore the scene to what we saw at the time. After the comet passed behind the mountain, the tail was still visible. It was eerie! like a plume of smoke. But this image here was my last frame of film from two rolls shot that night.

Some of the best pictures are the ones you don't take....

Dewey Vanderhoff
deweyv@trib.com


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