Tag Archives: astro-photography

Perseids

15 Aug

The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift–Tuttle. The meteors are called the Perseids because the point from which they appear to hail (called the radiant) lies in the constellation Perseus. The name is derived from the word Perseidai (Greek : Περσείδαι), the sons of Perseus in Greek mythology.

What we see as “shooting stars” is actually a cloud of debris – tiny pieces ejected by the comet Swift-Tuttle, as it travels along its 133 year orbit around the sun. These particles burn up in the earth’s atmosphere at around 80 km height. They are visible every year from July to August and reach maximum activity between August 9-14, depending on the location of the stream. During the peak, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour.

They can be seen all across the sky; however, because of the shower’s radiant in the constellation of Perseus, the Perseids are primarily visible in the Northern Hemisphere. [from Wikipedia]

Shown above are photos from my first attempt at capturing the “Perseids”. They occurred in pretty much all directions and I saw some brilliant trains high in the sky as well as fireballs just short above the horizon line. But it was difficult to photograph them.

I set up the camera towards the North East and the constellation Perseus, with the widest angle available (f 18 mm) and 30 seconds exposure time. And then I spent the following 2 hours pressing the shutter every 30 seconds…

The camera did capture a few Perseids as well as plenty of planes. The difference is that a plane shows a twofold and non-continuous light trace (because the plane lights blink periodically) whereas the train of a meteor shows as a thin, continuous bright line on the photo.

Later that night Auriga rose in the North and the Pleiades became visible in the North East. The camera caught a small train directly above the Pleiades.

Around 2 am the sky started to cloud and my photo session ended.

In the photos I marked some of the constellations and stars for orientation. I hope you enjoy this little excursion. I recommend to check this website for further reading: https://sternenhimmel-fotografieren.de/sternbild-perseus-perseiden-h-und-chi-herz-und-seele-herznebel-sternschnuppen-finden-beobachten-fotografieren/

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Blood Moon and Mars Opposition

28 Jul

Lunar Eclipse, July 27th 2018

Mars appears… Lunar Eclipse, July 27th 2018

Lunar Eclipse, July 27th 2018: the moment the moon exits the earth’s core shadow, with Mars to the lower right

End of lunar eclipse, July 28th 2018: still some shadow visible as well as a wonderful view on the moon’s surface structures

My impressions from the lunar eclipse and Mars opposition that occurred July 27th 2018, Düsseldorf

Camera: Canon Eos 7D Mark II, lenses: Sigma 300 m, Canon EFS 18-135 mm

New Year’s Moon, Venus, Mars Alignment

1 Jan

The first evening of the year 2017 gave a magical sight: the sharp sickle of the waxing moon’s crescent aligned with Venus and Mars at around 7 pm. In addition one could see structures on the dark side of the moon, which are usually merge with the dark night sky and are not visible. Perhaps the sky was brighter tonight due to light being reflected by dust particles in the air from last night’s fireworks. The photos were taken at around 7 pm in Dresden Dölzschen.

Lunar Eclipse September 2015

1 Oct
Mondfinsternis September 2015

“Lunar Rebirth”, 28 September 2015, Volkssternwarte Adolph Diesterweg, Radebeul

This was a very special event for me and a dream come true. I have experienced the “blood moon” that occurs during a lunar eclipse intensely and in different ways before, each time doing workings of a different nature. But I have never actually seen one. Instead clouds and bad weather. Would tonight be different?

It didn’t look like that. Half asleep I traveled through a near empty town at 2 am in the night and walked the dark way up to the observatory in Radebeul, worried, since all I could see were clouds. I arrived about 3.20 pm. I had been alone all the way and was surprised to find that quite a few other night owls and moon addicts were already present. The sky wouldn’t clear up. Instead we got to enjoy a presentation of impressive photos taken during former eclipses, such as the lunar eclipse of 2007, 2010 and 2011 as well as the Venus transits of 2004 and 2012, and then moved on to the planetarium…

Just as the projection started came the news we all had been waiting to hear. At once all ran outdoors to catch a glimpse of the reddened moon as it was just entering the earth’s umbra. A few minutes later the beginning spectacle was again covered by clouds. Some went back inside for the projection. I decided to stay and wait…

4.19 am

4.19 am

Temperatures had gone down to 5 °C, the South-Western sky was dark and cloudy. Occasionally a thin silvery sickle and finally only a dark red spectre gleamed up behind black clouds only to vanish again in darkness a few seconds later. It was still mesmerizing to watch, as if the bleeding moon wanted to hide and veil itself as it fully immersed in the shadow of the earth.

I took some more or less blurry photos during this period, which are pasted into one image below. But the truly spectacular moment was when the moon emerged from the earth’s shadow. This was also the moment I captured through the telescope and which you see on the title image. This photo would not have been possible without the help of Martin and the rest of the team at the Sternwarte, who offered their telescopes and qualified advice to other attendants.

Stages of the lunar eclipse, 28 September 2015, as visible from Sternwarte Radebeul

Stages of the lunar eclipse, 28 September 2015, as visible from Sternwarte Radebeul

On this night I also got to observe other celestial bodies. This being my second visit to the observatory, the solar eclipse in March now followed by the lunar eclipse of September, which was closing the cycle of eclipses for this year.

As the Northern sky cleared up we were shown for example galaxies M 82 and M 83. Venus rose above the planetarium, followed by Mars (then located beneath Regulus and the constellation Leo) and Jupiter, who’s moons and bands could be seen through the large reflecting telescope. Below you see the three planets align above the planetarium in the East. They will be joined by Mercury in October.

Venus, Mars, Jupiter

Venus, Mars, Jupiter – 28 September 2015, Volkssternwarte Adolph Diesterweg, Radebeul

Further South-East the Orion nebula was barely visible with the naked eye but through the telescope one could clearly see the luminescent “wings” of the gas cloud as well as four bright stars across the nebula, which I assume were the trapezium cluster. The “nebula” is also known as M 42. It is part of a large gas cloud spanning all the way through Orion, but only parts of this cloud are visible. We learnt back in the days of renaissance astronomy and comet hunting anything that was not a comet and could not be defined nearer was called a “nebula”. Today we know new stars are born inside the gas cloud, which ionize the surrounding hydrogen molecules, causing them to beam.

Endende Mondfinsternis und Zeiss Coudé Refraktor, 28 September 2015, Volkssternwarte Adolph Diesterweg, Radebeul

In the meantime the sky had cleared up and we could now see the moon in all its glory, as it was exiting the earth’s umbra and penumbra before setting in the West. At dawn we were also rewarded with a magical view over the Elbe valley, where fog was gathering and the city was slowly waking up.

Nebel über dem Elbtal, 28 September 2015, Blick von der Terrasse der Volkssternwarte Adolph Diesterweg, Radebeul

IMG_8476 copy

Exhausted and happy we waited for the sun to rise.

Sternwarte Radebeul: http://www.sternwarte-radebeul.de/

 

 

June Moon 2015

9 Jun

June Moon

June Waning Moon, 2015

Waning Moon, June 08 2015

photos taken without support, using a 70-300 mm Sigma lense

Besides, I’m introducing a new website section for my humble attempts at creative astro photography: Sun, Moon and Stars