Friday, May 25, 2007

Cherry Springs Horizon Panoramic, 5/18/07

4-and-a-half hour Horizon Panoramic at Cherry Springs. This animated gif might seem similar to the one posted below, but it differs in several ways:
1. The first was taken in New Mexico, this one in Cherry Springs, PA.
2. The first was taken in March, this one in May.
3. The first divides the horizon into roughly 60 frames (6 degrees movement between each frame), this one divides it into 90 frames (4 degrees movement between each frame).
4. The first uses a minute pause between each shot, this one uses two minutes - thus, the second movie really captures 2.5 more hours of sky movement, which should be more visible in this movie.
5. The first shows Saturn in Leo and the Winter Milky Way setting, this one shows Jupiter in Scorpius and the Summer Milky Way rising.
Otherwise they both start and stop with Polaris near the center of the image, and each image is a minute exposure.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

360º Two-Hour Horizon Pan of the Night Sky in New Mexico

This is a movie of 60 frames, each a minute-long exposure of the night sky at Casitas De Gila in mid-March, 2007, taken over a two-hour period while panning about 6º to the right during the minute gap between each shot. Each image was adjusted similarly for better contrast before being made into this short movie, with each frame 2/25 of a second long, except for the first and last, which center on Polaris. If I were to attempt this again, I would DECREASE the camera rotation to maybe 3º between shots and INCREASE the gap between photos to two or three minutes so that the camera movement AND apparent motion (rising and setting) of the stars would ve more evenly synchronized and visible. Note familiar constellations and asterisms like the Big Dipper, Canis Major and Orion, the bright planet Saturn in Leo (skewered by an airplane trail) and objects like the Orion Nebula, the Pleiades, and of course the Milky Way. (Click on the image to see it move.)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Planetary Alignment 12/10/06

This alignment was captured the morning or December 12, 2006. The photos are actually in REVERSE order, as I zoomed OUT from my highest magnification. Also in the sky was Saturn half a degree away from the moon! The first image links to a larger image. You have to click on the second (bottom) image to see it animate.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Milky Way Galactic Equator Movie

Click on this image to see the larger animated version of this picture. This is a preview, a trial run of a work in progress, captured during the clearest moments of the 2006 BFSP. Just though something should represent that event, and this is all I captured that weekend.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Milky Way in Motion

A series of 121 images (approximately 55 seconds exposure each) for a total of two hours of the earth's rotation compressed into several seconds staring into the heart of our galaxy. Note Jupiter in the upper right corner of the first few frames as well as a few aircraft. I might have captured one meteor and unsure about any satelites. (This gif doesn't do justice to individual frames and flickers more than it ought to on account of having to reduce the file size and quality so much so it would fit in my current allotted space.)

How the Planets Move Against the Stars

I photographed each of the six outer planets twice, 24 hours apart to show their relative motions (orbital speeds) against the stars. Except for Pluto (which I admit might not even be!), one can definitely see a decrease in motion the further out you go. Note the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, and that Saturn and Neptune "appear" to be moving in retrograde. Neptune moves so little because it just changed apparent direction.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Moons of Jupiter in Orbit

This series of photos (taken all night over an 8-hour period) was taken the same South Jersey Astronomy Club Spring Star Party weekend in Belleplain, NJ, as the comet movie below. Because I used the "hat trick" to minimize vibrations, the exposures vary very slightly depending how quickly I removed the telescope cover (I used the first two bars of the Eurythmics's "Sweet Dreams" in my head to time this while the camera shutter closed hopefully two seconds after that). As a result the image seems to jump around a bit, despite my efforts to keep Jupiter in the center of each frame during editing. You might also notice a brightening midway through as Jupiter reaches the meridian, which is where the mount needed reconfiguration; luckily, I reframed the image so well that I only needed to rotate those "post-meridian" shots 1.5 degrees in Photoshop. No cloud bands are visible on Jupiter since I had to overexpose it in order for the moons to show up.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Comet 73P-C / Schwassmann-Wachmann

I took these photos early in the morning on the last night of the South Jersey Astronomy Club's Spring Star Party (4/29/06). For two hours I took these photos 10 minutes apart, with exposures of five minutes each. Unfortunately, the last five of these 12 photos are out of focus, no doubt due to the dew heater twisting the focus. I had taken four 5-minute focused exposures an hour earlier and so put them at the beginning of the "movie" to compensate for "loss of footage." This explains the slight difference in framing and the jump in the comet's position, which I labeled and set a longer pause. See also individual shots of this comet under the Solar System Photos link.