Last night’s photography has been “Topic A” with me today. After a disappointing astrophotography session Saturday night I was upset that Sunday night would be clouded out. Sometimes even I am happy to be wrong!
The clouds held south. As astronomical twilight¹ set I carried my camera, tripod and intervalometer out onto the front yard.
I make noise when I’m outside at night. I am still a city boy at heart. I don’t want any curious animals scaring the crap out of me.
Welcome to the digital age. Once the clicking began there was no need for me to be outside. The camera was driven by the intervalometer taking shot-after-shot.
With some sophisticated, but free, software I was able to combine my shots for the equivalent of a nearly 17 minute exposure! That’s why you see above.
Some shots needed to be thrown out. A few airplanes flew by. In a few more I picked out the faint signature of polar orbiting satellites flying by. All I wanted was natural points of light.
I used a much more sensitive lens Sunday than Saturday and it paid off! The sky was full of stars–thousands I’d guess.
One of my Facebook friends, Joe Roberts, estimated I was able to see down to magnitude 12 or 13. The naked eye can see around magnitude 5. That’s impressive considering no telescope was used.
I’m going to have to examine the image closely. Joe says there are at least a few galaxies visible. There are some ‘fuzzy’ stars which will have to be identified.
I’m disappointed in some distortion toward the edges of the frame. What should be tiny dots of light look triangular. Probably some weakness in my lens.
I will try again. Is it possible to get hooked on this without spending more money? Please, say yes.
¹ Astronomical twilight is the time when the center of the sun is between 12° and 18° below the horizon. From the end of astronomical twilight in the evening to the beginning of astronomical twilight in the morning, the sky (away from urban light pollution) is dark enough for all astronomical observations.