It was a failed viewing, but I did not go away empty handed as I took some awesome landscape shots of light trails from vehicles racing down the roads in the dim light of early morning. It was cold, for Fraser Valley standards, and there was a slight breeze to add to the chill. So, I will do a second attempt first thing tomorrow around 6:30am, hoping that the clouds, pollution and aircraft play in my favour.
None of my shots yielded Comet Ison. The pollution and low laying clouds were just too much to tease out the faint object. I could see it through binoculars, but even my most powerful lens could not capture a usable image out of Ison from my DSLR. I was snapping in 10 second timed exposures for my test shots, but with the background light illuminating the clouds, even the stars were blurred out in the section of space I wanted to view.
In the above image, [Stellarium v 0.12.4] this will be Comet ISON location on November 21, 2013 at 6:30am Pacific Standard Time from Vancouver, British Columbia.
Frost was everywhere. When I started my vehicle up, it was freezing. When I got to the site to do the shooting, the air was nippy, the water on the road was ice making walking a challenge, and yet all around me the sky was clear. Unfortunately, right along the horizon were bands of low laying clouds, and even at 5:00am I could see the thick band of air pollution down the Eastern end of the Fraser Valley.
The above shot was a ten-second timed exposure of the ground around 5:30am today. Below is a 28mm shot looking West, away from the Sun, shooting a five-second timed exposure. You can see a light streak from a car travelling down the road.
Yes I know, we here in the Lower Mainland, aka Vancouver (including Fort Langley) are pussy’s when dealing with the cold. Hey, we are not custom to it becuase when it drops below freezing, it is rare, and these episodes only last a short while. So please understand that seeing blow freezing temperatures are sometimes a bit of a shock, especially when you are not prepared for it.
Okay, so tomorrow I will try again as it appears that we will have three days in a row of very clear weather to come. I will try another location, up on a hill here in Glen Valley that will at least get me a degree or two more hight above the horizon to view with. I heard on T.V. that Ison could break up as it approaches its perihelion on November 28, its closet distance to the Sun. This would really suck if I missed it!
ADDED Nov 21 2013
I tried again to view Ison this morning, but again, the haze, pollution and high clouds made it all but impossible to view it. As soon as the Sun appeared over the horizon, fog appeared at ground level. I think the rest of the week will be like this. I guess I will have to wait to see if Ison will survive its encounter with the Sun, and then view it while it is on its way back in mid December (from which it will be an evening event).