Star Streaks and the Milky Way
When we go camping and there is a chance of clear evening skies, I usually try to have my tripod with me so that I can attempt some long-exposure starry exposures. With dark skies and not a whole lot of nearby light pollution, the night sky above the Joaquin campground in upstate New York is always a great place to capture some starry photos. This particular photo was taken by pointing the camera nearly straight up and captures a 3-minute exposure of tons of stars with the cloud-like Milky Way serving as a backdrop. Considering this was just a small portion of the sky, it was amazing just how many stars were lighting up the night!
Thin Veil of Clouds Keeps the Stars Out of Sight…Mostly
A raging campfire is great, and being able to step away from the fire and see a clear sky of uncountable stars is pretty great too. On this particular night of camping up in New York state, clear skies quickly disappeared as some thin clouds moved in for the night. Even thought this dashed my hopes of any more long exposure star shots for the night, I thought the wispy clouds looked pretty cool in the night sky above the warm campfire.
Sparks and Stars on a Summer Night
I don’t know about you, but I love winding down in front of a roaring fire on a cool summer night. Enjoying a campfire on a super clear night with countless stars shimmering overhead is even better.
Have you been able to experience a nice campfire this summer yet?? If not, you had better build one soon before the summer disappears!
Transit of Venus
See that little black disk at the edge of that larger yellow blob? That is Venus crossing in front of the sun as seen through my telescope with a solar filter. Yesterday, people across the world witnessed a transit of Venus across the sun, an event that won’t occur again until 2117.
However, the photo above was taken in 2004…because I basically messed up yesterday. I couldn’t find my solar filter, and then I was going to get some welding glass to make a filter for my camera and telescope, but it was raining and looking like it wouldn’t even be visible. And then the clouds parted right as the transit started, but my attempts to view and capture the transit were in vain…moral of the story: be prepared, especially when dealing with a once-in-a-lifetime event. On the upside, the transit I saw and captured in 2004 was one of the greatest astronomical events I have seen, so I am definitely happy I at least experienced that one!
Campground Beneath the Stars
From this photo, it may look like our campground area was pretty well lit, but that is mainly because this was a long 1-minute-plus exposure. Aside from the roaring fire, around which everyone is gathered, most of the light came from small torches or solar LED lights scattered throughout the camp. As long as you weren’t staring directly at the fire, you could easily see countless stars in the dark skies above. And that is exactly what I was doing while this photo was being taken…looking up at the stars above.
Stars and Light Pollution During a Power Outage
Back in October, while in the middle of a multi-day power outage due to the unexpected snowfall at the end of the month, I decided to enjoy the somewhat-darker skies to enjoy a bit of star gazing. Our complex was completely in the dark, so instead of street lamps and light-filled windows, everything was just black (except for the occasional flickering candle, other small light, or a car’s headlight). However, surrounding areas had power, so there was still a good amount of light pollution making it difficult to see all of the sky, as you can see in the photo above showing the a silhouette of the apartments. Still, I was able to see more stars that night at the apartment than I ever had before.
Star Trails and the Milky Way
The Earth sure is one fast rotator! At the equator, the Earth rotates at a speed greater than 1000 miles per hour…although this speed decreases to practically 0 miles per hour at the poles. It is this fast rotation that allowed me to open the camera shutter for 12 minutes on a clear, summer night and capture the streaks of starry light in the photo above. This long exposure also allowed me to capture a section of the Milky Way galaxy as a couple bands of cloud-like fogginess behind the star trails.