Comet observations at Crni Vrh are dating back for twenty years when
the first photographs of comet West were taken in the early morning of
March 4, 1976. At that time, the comet was an easy naked eye object, well
visible even in broad morning twilight. At the very beginning, remarkable
results were obtained with second-hand photographic lenses.
In 1985, the new observatory was built by the author on a more favorable location
but still close to Crni Vrh. It was equipped with fast, short focus cameras like
19-cm, f/4 flat field Schmidt-Cassegrain and later 20-cm, f/2 Baker-Schmidt, as well
as few high quality lenses for wide field observations. In addition, the observatory
had its own laboratory with all the necessary equipment for gas hypersensitization of
photographic emulsions. This was a good instrumental base to continue and even extend
the comet observations to fainter magnitudes. At the same time, visual observations
also started on a regular basis.
Numerous faint and brighter comets of the late 80's and early 90's were successfully
observed. Among the brighter comets, extensive observations of comets C/1989 Q1 Okazaki-Levy-Rudenko,
C/1989 X1 Austin and C/1990 K1 Levy were done.
When the commercial CCDs became available in the early 90's, they considerably affected the comet
observations and brought the new possibilities in this field. The new technique required some
familiarity with computers and electronics, and was introduced with invaluable help of Bojan
Dintinjana, astronomer and computer specialist at the University of Ljubljana Astronomical Observatory.
In 1989, we started to experiment with the SBIG ST-4 and obtain initial experience. Lacking a good observing
site, the University of Ljubljana installed their
36-cm S-C telescope and CCD at the observatory in 1990. The
CCD was of research grade and it was possible to use it for cometary observations when not used for University
Outstanding capabilities of CCDs enable us to start comet observations using narrow band filters and
CCD photometry with standard V filter.
Remarkable results with these filters were obtained on comets 109P/Swift-Tuttle and 1996 B2
(Hyakutake). Encouraged also by Dan Green of CBAT, who lacked information on faint comets, the program of comet CCD
photometry became regular in 1992 and continues until today.