Monday, September 17, 2007

How about a little digital astrophotography?

So this is how I spent a chilly Monday evening. After photographing a gory looking Deerfield Valley Rescue training scenario, I kept the camera mounted on the tripod and took a few shots of the night sky. I've been wanting to try some astrophotography, tonight was my first stab at it.
I also shot some B&W film in a few longer shots - several minutes - which should yield some nice star trails when I develop them.
Ursa Major, the Big Dipper. If you look closely you'll see an oscillating line bisecting the Dipper's handle - an airplane was flying overhead while I was taking the shot. If you click on the photo, you'll see a larger version with more detail. This photo was taken with about 30 seconds exposure.

This is a 15-second shot straight overhead. That's an apple tree in the lower left. What I found fascinating about this shot is the color - the sensor picks up each star's color, something the human eye isn't very good at in the dark. Click on the photo and you'll notice some of the stars are blue, others red, and some white.

These were taken in my back yard, right in downtown Wilmington. Imagine how spectacular these shots would be if they were taken away from the lights of Main Street. Next time, a better location. And maybe some more equipment.

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