Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Real Astronomy

I did finally get a chance to do some real astronomy. On Peckford Island I had the luxury of a cabin to sleep in and a breezy beach to photograph from, which kept the discomforts of sleeping on the ground and the mosquitos to a minimum. It was also amazingly dark and clear out there, so I really enjoyed my night.

First I did some images of the Milky Way along with the island's lighthouse. I was able to line up the scenery so that it looks like the Milky Way is beaming out of the lighthouse:

The thing I really like about this image is that it captures an asterism known as The Teapot. An asterism is an arrangement of stars that resembles some object, but is not an official constellation. An example of an asterism you are probably familiar with is the Big Dipper, which is just a part of the constellation Ursa Major. In the animation below I've drawn some lines joining up the stars in The Teapot (which is actually the constellation Sagittarius) so that you can easily see it. The amazing thing about The Teapot is that it looks like the Milky Way is pouring out of the spout. A great photo opportunity considering the nature of my journey.

I was concentrating so much on shooting these images that I wasn't really paying attention to what was going on around me. When I turned to look back towards the north I was delighted to see a great show of aurora happening Right behind Darren's cabin. I didn't get the best photos, and the aurora faded quickly, but I'm pretty happy with this one:

After the aurora stopped I made a few last shots of some cabins with stars in the background. I illuminated the cabins with my flashlight while the camera was on a long-exposure setting to capture the sky as well:

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