Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Milky Way & Moon Movement

Aside from the very short time of really dark skies around the summer solstice when the nights are very brief at higher latitudes, our cabin in the Upper Peninsula has proven to be a great place to take star photos.  It has no light pollution from nearby cities and the Sun and Moon are the only things that cause any real light pollution issues.  This weekend, I had essentially three hours of skies that were dark enough to capture good photographs, as the sunset on the horizon still glowed at midnight and by 3:30am enough sunrise light overexposed my frames to the point that even the dark trees were burnt out of the photos.  Later in the summer and autumn, I should be able to capture some more impressive shots.

The photo above is of the Milky Way rising on the eastern horizon.  You can see a satellite streaking across the right side of the photo.  I stacked about 100 photos shot over a 2-hour period to create the star trail photo below.  I really like this picture because you can see both the upward arc of the stars above the equator and the slight downward arc of those below the equator.

I composed the first video below from the same photos that I used for the star trail photo.  You can see the movement of the Milky Way across the night sky.  The second video shows the movement of the Moon across the sky.  I used my 500mm lens to capture 3 minutes of video, which I sped up to about 30 seconds so that you can see the movement quicker.  Both videos show how fast the Earth spins in a short period of time, motion that seems imperceptible to the naked eye.

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