Comet C/2009 P1 (Garradd), 2012-03-21.

After a visit to a local school (30 minute talks about Venus, Jupiter & Mars for 120 children and their parents) I returned to the observatory for an imaging session of comet Garradd. Skies were clear but a bit hazy, which became apparent when looking at the first photo’s; bright stars with nice halo’s. Garradd was passing by M81 and M82, so I used the 135m to frame both the comet and the galaxies.
I also tested the new Vixen Polarie star tracker. This very compact travel mount is shaped like a camera and runs on 2 x AA batteries or an USB power supply. A Manfrotto 410 geared head was used for mounting the Polarie and a Gitzo ballhead with Canon EOS 40D and EF 35/1.4mm was attached to the Polarie mounting block. I did a rough polar alignment by pointing the Polarie north and setting the correct latitude using the built-in tilt meter. Polaris could now be seen through the polar sight hole. No further polar alignment was done (a polar scope is optional). A 1m 45s test shot of Bootes does not show any trailing. Nice!