Holmes comet 78 days after the outburst

This image of Holmes comet was made from photographs taken in Chile on the southern hemisphere during our two-member mountaineering expedition (me and my wife Zuzana). I had only a small tripod therefore I used only short exposure times (10 s) in order not to blur the image by sky motion. Excellent observing conditions in Andes enabled me to make a rather good image even with very limited equipment.
This image is connected in my mind with a rather strange experience. The image was taken in the lonely mountains rather far from civilization on the bank of Rio Volcán not far from beautiful mountain lake Mondaca. My wife Zuzana was sleeping in our tent and I was taking images of Holmes comet enjoying marvelous dark sky not devastated by light pollution like in Europe. After the comet set I followed my wife. Shortly after falling asleep I was woken up by a piece of textile or something like that on my face. I threw it away having no idea what it was. I lit my headlamp but I did not find anything except a handkerchief and socks. In the morning I was preparing breakfast outside the tent and my wife was packing our things inside the tent. Suddenly a terrible cry came out of the tent and the night mystery was solved. The big spider - tarantula was crawling in the tent. I grasped the camera and made a lot of detailed images. After that I took the tarantula carefully away. It could be considered as a rather dangerous incident however chilean tarantulas are non-aggressive shy spiders not dangerous for humans. If they are not crawling over your nose, they are lovely beings.
Click on the image or on the following reference to display the higher resolution image version (1.5 MB, PNG format).

Date9. 1. 2008  (8. 1. 2008 according to local time)
Time01:03 - 01:06 UT  (22:03 - 22:06 local time)
PlaceNear Laguna Mondaca, Provincia de Talca, Chile
CoordinateS 35° 28.401', W 70° 46.562', Alt. 1600 m
ConditionsClear sky
OpticsTamron SP AF Aspherical XR Di LD 2.8/28-75 mm (set to 59 mm, F 2.8)
CameraCanon EOS 5D
Exposure9× 10 s (ISO 3200)
Copyright© 2008 Miloslav Druckmüller

Miloslav Druckmüller
Institute of Mathematics, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic
Page last update: 14.2.2009