Thursday, September 6, 2012

Star Trails to the North!

The sky was beautiful last night! The Milky Way was bright, and there were tons of stars! I didn't have time or energy to set up the telescope, so I did a quick star trail before the moon rose.

The object at the bottom of the image is the roof of my deck, faintly reflecting the light of a sodium lamp several hundred feet away through the trees. The colors have not been enhanced. I adjusted the contrast a bit to reduce the sky glow. This is a composite of 163 30-second exposures.

The bright star near the center of the circle is Polaris, the North Star. Contrary to common belief, Polaris is not the brightest star in the night sky. It is, however, the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor.

The straight lines that criss-cross the starfield are the trails of aircraft. Also, there are several hot pixels scattered about the image because I forgot to take dark frames.

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