Halley's Comet | 1986

Click on image to toggle transition between two pictures.

Halley's Comet: images made on 19 and 21 March 1986 as the comet moved through the constellation Sagittarius (the bright moving object at top is Mars). Click on the image to toggle between the two dates. Photographs made with a 35mm SLR camera with 28mm lens and colour transparency film.

Above, the first image of the comet captured during the 1986 apparition was made from Auckland's North Shore in the pre-dawn hours of 8 March. The comet, imaged with a medium focal length lens, is in Capricornus, rising over the Hauraki Gulf, with the dim outline of the volcanic island Rangitoto visible at bottom (blurred, as the camera was tracking the sky during an exposure of a few minutes).

Above, a shot made during the 8 March session with a 135mm telephoto lens.

Above, a wide shot made the following morning, 9 March. The moon has just risen, and the light from Auckland's CBD is impinging at right.

Below, 9 March session, 135mm telephoto lens.

Above, A little later on the morning of 9 March, with the distinctive outline of Rangitoto at bottom centre.

Click here to see the two telephoto images from 8 and 9 March seen above superimposed: clicking on the image will toggle between the two pictures.

Above, 11 March, 135mm telephoto lens.

Above, 14 March, 135mm telephoto lens

Above, 17 March, 135mm telephoto lens

Above, 19 March, 135mm telephoto lens (see top of page for a wide-angle image of the scene on 19 March).

Above, 21 March, 135mm telephoto lens (see top of page for a wide-angle image of the scene on 21 March).

Above, 22 March, 135mm telephoto lens

Above, after waiting out a period of bright moonlight and weather this wide-angle shot was made on 8 April. By now the comet - left of centre, with a much diminished tail, a result of viewing perspective - was crossing the star clouds and dust lanes of the Milky Way in Scorpius.

Below, tighter shots on the same date, the first with a medium focal length lens, then two shots with a 135mm telephoto lens taken a short time apart showing the now quite rapid movement of the comet across the sky.

By 10 April, in the wide-angle shot above, the comet – left of centre – was beginning to draw away from the Milky Way.

Above, 10 April, 135mm lens

Above, 14 April, wide angle lens. Halley is above centre, nearing the great globular cluster Omega Centauri.

Above, 14 April, medium focal length lens.

Above, 14 April, 135mm lens.

Comet Halley returns in 2061.