How to Photograph the Comet Leonard

After all the excitement we got last year from the comet NEOWISE, it's hard to believe that right now, there's another potential naked-eye-visible comet screaming through the solar system at 158,000 miles per hour.

If you missed the comet NEOWISE, now is your chance to capture Leonard, which is visible right now in the eastern skies just before dawn (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere). But how should you do it? What lens is best? And better yet, how should you process the photos?

In this video, Walt Busby, who goes by Delta Astrophotography, has put together what I think is currently the best guide to find, capture, and process images of the comet Leonard, unlike a lot of other videos out there, which just explain where the comet is and its overall trajectory. He has taken the time to thoroughly walk us through which camera equipment is appropriate, how to find the comet, and the correct camera settings to get the most worthwhile results. The most important thing in this video, however, is the processing. Nearly everyone that has a digital camera and medium telephoto lens can attempt to shoot this comet. But where most people will be left behind is in the processing. Thankfully, he gives us a quick primer on using Deep Sky Stacker and Photoshop to combine and process his real-world data on the comet. 

Overall, this is a very useful video for anyone seeking to go out in the pre-dawn hours and get some shots of this once-in-a-lifetime object. After Leonard passes through our solar system, it will be knocked out of its orbital trajectory and flung into interstellar space, never to return. So, if you missed NEOWISE, don’t make the same mistake! Go find Leonard. 

Scott Donschikowski's picture

Scott Donschikowski is a professional photographer and educator with over 11 years of experience leading a variety of photo workshops around the world. He specializes mainly in landscape, wildlife, and astrophotography. He is also active on YouTube where he makes tutorials sharing his photographic knowledge.

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I gave up astrophotography some time ago, but I did manage to get Comet Lovejoy before I left the ranks of deep space imagers:

wow! nice shot David!