Moon-Mars-Venus conjunction of 2017

Moon, Mars, and Venus line up in the western sky

As I dropped by Gwangju to catch a movie (I'll be posting a comic tomorrow), the western sky was adorned with an alignment of some of the bright bodies of the solar system as seen from the Earth - the Moon, Mars, and Venus. The occurrence was relatively well-publicized, but I forgot to carry a dedicated camera tonight. Luckily, the telephoto lens of the iPhone 7 Plus pulled through and I was able to capture this sight over the neighbourhood just before Venus dropped behind the buildings.

Device: iPhone 7 Plus
Settings: 56mm - ISO 1000 - 1/12s - f/2.8
Filters: None
Time: 2017-02-01 21:12 KST
Location: Gwangju, Korea
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Supermoon 2016 captured on iPhone 7 Plus

Supermoon on Nov. 15, 2016
Much has been talked about this year's so-called Supermoon owing to the fact that it's the largest since January 26, 1948 and won't be surpassed until November 25, 2034. Closest approach was made on 22:52 KST on November 14 at a distance of 356,509km, about 28,000km closer than average. The resulting difference is hardly noticeable to the naked eye, but is nevertheless a nice occasion to look at the Moon again. Sadly, heavy clouds hid the Moon entirely at that time, so I saw the Moon the next evening, about 20 hours later and used the telephoto lens on the iPhone 7 Plus to take a photo of it. This is perhaps the most detailed shot of the Moon taken using only an iPhone's native camera module.

Device: iPhone 7 Plus
Settings: 56mm - ISO 20 - 1/60s - f/2.8
Filters: None
Time: 2016-11-15 19:06 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
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The streak of Iridium 60's flare

Iridium 60 in the northern sky on August 30, 2016 (14% size)

It's been more than two years since I talked about satellite flares here, but I now have something to show you. As you can see, I had a camera successfully capture the flares coming from an Iridium satellite for the first time. Past efforts used iPhones because I was focused in capturing the motion of the flares. In this photo, the ever-growing Naju Bitgaram City provided a colourful backdrop.

Device: Sony A5000 + SELP1650 (E PZ 16–50 mm F3.5–5.6 OSS)
Settings: 24mm - ISO 400 - 20s - f/4.5
Filters: None
Time: 2016-08-30 05:06 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
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Getting a less noisy shot of the Milky Way

Milky Way over the apartments on September 29, 2016 (14% size)

Nearly two months ago, I realized that the southern window at home provides a view of the Milky Way with long-exposure photography. Although the result from that time was satisfactory, I felt that a stacked approach would be even better. And now, you see the result of stacking eight photos. It's indeed much smoother even at a larger size.

By not using a star tracker, though, the stars were subject to lens distortion at the edges. This is where the flaws of the bundled lens of the A5000 become quite apparent. But I decided to leave it like this since it draws your attention to the center.

Device: Sony A5000 + SELP1650 (E PZ 16–50 mm F3.5–5.6 OSS)
Settings: 16mm - ISO 1000 - 20s - f/3.5
Filters: None
Time: 2016-08-29 21:48-22:05 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
8 photos stacked using Pixelmator
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Perseids meteor shower 2016 in Naju

Perseids meteor streaks across the top right over the ancient tombs in Naju (14% size)

This year's Perseids meteor shower was predicted to be prominent, garnering lots of public interest. Unfortunately for someone in Naju, the northern sky that the shower was to take place is polluted with light from Gwangju, making it hard to watch the fainter ones. To get a better view, I moved about 17km southwest to the Naju Bannam tumuli (ancient tomb mounds that encompass Sinchon-ri, Deoksan-ri, and Daean-ri tombs) next to the Naju National Museum. Upon arrival, I was disappointed to discover that the light pollution was still quite bad.

It was still better than being at home, so I set up my camera with the Deoksan-ri tombs #2 (left) and #3 (right) in front. There were already two families nearby who came to watch the sky. In the two hours I stayed, I was able to watch about five meteors falling, far less than the supposed maximum of 150 per hour. Of those, the camera caught two of them, the most striking one being shown here. The streak was going through the Andromeda constellation; the fuzzy dot to the left of the streak is the Andromeda Galaxy.

Meanwhile, the airplanes appeared much more often in the sky - there was one every five minutes or so. This is due to being more or less in the direct path of the flights between Seoul and Jeju, as well as Incheon and Southeast Asian cities. Even in this photo, the Mandarin Airlines flight AE231 (Incheon-Taipei) was caught on the left as a knotted line.

Device: Sony A5000 + SELP1650 (E PZ 16–50 mm F3.5–5.6 OSS)
Settings: 16mm - ISO 400 - 15s - f/3.5
Filters: None
Time: 2016-08-12 23:37:27 KST
Location: Naju, Korea

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