Comet Halley 1P

Halley's Comet or Comet Halley, officially designated 1P/Halley, is a short-period comet visible from Earth every 75–79 years. 

Halley last appeared in the inner parts of the Solar System in 1986 and will next appear in mid-2061.
Halley's periodic returns to the inner Solar System have been observed and recorded by astronomers around the world since at least 240 BC. 

But it was not until 1705 that the English astronomer Edmond Halleyunderstood that these appearances were reappearances of the same comet. 

As a result of this discovery, the comet is named after Halley. 

During its 1986 visit to the inner Solar System, Halley's Comet became the first comet to be observed in detail by spacecraft, 

providing the first observational data on the structure of a comet nucleus and the mechanism of coma and tail formation. 

These observations supported a number of longstanding hypotheses about comet construction, 

particularly Fred Whipple's "dirty snowball" model, which correctly predicted that Halley would be composed of a mixture of volatile ices—such as water, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and dust. 

The missions also provided data that substantially reformed and reconfigured these ideas; for instance, it is now understood that the surface of Halley is largely composed of dusty, non-volatile materials, and that only a small portion of it is icy.

My story with Hallets began back in the summer of 1985 when Joe Mannacci, Randy Beachler, Mike Harkey and myself began looking for Comet Halley. 

We eventually found it, We shot multiple exposures (slides) and then placed the slides into two slide projectors placed side by side and we slid a piece of cardboard back & forth to replicate a simple form of Blink Comparator.
anything that moved as the images blinked back & forth. I have the images, but cannot locate them right now. When I do I will update this page with our "discovery" images.
Below are some logbook entries .


Here's a couple of shots of Mike Harkey and I out looking for the comets in the depths of winter in 1985.

Comet Hunters   Mason Telescope

Here's a local newspaper artithe written by Jeffrey Gordan from the Chronicle Telegram in Elyria, Ohio in March of 1986.
Newspaper article

Since I was 32 years old for the 1986 apparition I knew that I would not likely be around for the next apparirion in 2061. I would be 107 years old, so it within the realm of possibility. I guess we will wait & see what happens.

Nonetheless, I wanted to really see this comet like I had seen no other, so I purchased a Meade LX200, an 8 inch SCT with field tripod, fork arms and wedge, then made plans for my son and I to take a flight across the USA to Tucson, Arizona.
My biggest fear was that the airline would lose or break my new scope or lose the trunks carrying my eyepieces, tripod, wedge, dew cover or other essentials.
Here's a shot of the scope. I still have it to this day.
Meade LX200

And, so it began. My son, Eric and I boarded a flight and together we began our cross country journey together to see a comet
My hope was that he would be interested enough to look for it when he was 86 years old. Unfortunately he passed in a car crash. May he rest in peace.
Airplane to Tucson, Az Flight to Tucson, AZ

We made it safely to Tucson. The landing was ROUGH,!!!

I had asked for a jeep or off road vehicle, but when we got to the rental place all they had was a sedan. They insisted that it would be ok.
I made them sign a waiver stating that we would not be resposible for any dings or damages to the undercarriage as a result of our off roading in the desert.
They si
gned, so away we went...

Rental car Us at camp

Before long, we had passed through the little town of Aho Way and arrived at camp in the Organ Pipe National Monument.
This was about as far south as you could go in Arizona. Mexico was just over the rir
ge to our south.
other camper   other campers

And we were really happy that there were others there. Safety in numbers, don'cha know!

Soon afterwards, the Sun began to set and the Organ Pipe Monument came to life. We couldn't see any critters, but we certainly did hear them.
Owls, wolves and many other dreatures stirred in the night.

Dusk saugaro over our tent

Wasting no time I began imaging the comet.
C90 with OM1
My first shot was with the Olympus OM-1 Astrocamera at prime focus of the C90. Seeing was pretty bad that night.

We didn't bring chairs so I used the telescope trunk, Most uncomfortable chair ever. I don't recommend it.


I shot this image with the 50mm Zuiko lens on the Olympus OM-1 Astrocamera, mounted piggyback on the Meade LX200.
300mm piggybacked on the Meade


Here's a couple of images where I hand guided on the comet.
I'm here to tell you, we had it rough back in the day....
trails   trails2
Two of myComet Halley images won awards at a local astrophotography event, held in the fall of 1986.