Monday, August 1, 2016

Back Yard Astronomy

The right combination of time, energy, and weather conditions still elude me lately. I haven't done much more than peek out the window at the stars now and then. That gave me an idea, however.

Last night I set up the trusty DSLR at one of the back windows and started making a time-lapse of the sky.

But I didn't account for last night's high humidity. The window fogged up shortly after the sequence was started, and I didn't discover the problem until the morning. There weren't enough frames to make a decent time lapse.

Still, there were a few pictures that I thought were pretty.

Below, the constellation Scorpius, containing the bright red star Antares, dominates the center of the image. Mars and Saturn are visible in the upper-right. Ptolemy's Cluster and the Teapot asterism are on the left. There are clouds, mostly above the treeline, to the right. The Milky Way is visible at the top, just to the left of center. The image at the end of the post has labels.

To the ancient Greeks, the star Antares appeared similar in color and brightness to Mars, which they called Ares. The name Antares means, "rival to Ares" or "equal to Ares." Mars is approaching Antares in the sky, and the two will be less than 2 degrees apart, forming a nearly straight line with Saturn, on August 24, 2016.

Single, 30-second exposure at ISO-1600 made with a Canon EOS Rebel T5 with the stock EFS 18-55mm zoom lens @ 18mm. Corrected for lens distortion and color balanced in Photoshop CS6. Noise reduction using Google Nik Collection Dfine 2.0 Photoshop plug-in.

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