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.)