Entries tagged as constellation

Ursa Major & Leo Minor

Ursa Major (yellow, left) and Leo Minor (blue, right)

Shortly after watching the MetOp-A satellite flare, I pointed the camera vertically up for a test of how long I could leave the shutter open before the light pollution whitened things out. In the process, the entirety of two constellations, Urga Major and Leo Minor, were caught in the resulting photo. The Big Dipper makes up the bottom portion of the Ursa Major.

If you click on the image for the full resolution version, the star trails are noticeable. I'll be trying out a star tracker I recently bought to see if this can be effectively eliminated. Too bad the weather these days are generally cloudy.

Device: Canon SX50 HS
Settings: 24mm - ISO 80 - 60s - f/3.4
Filters: None
Time: 2014-04-08 21:31 KST
Location: Suwon, Korea
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MetOp-A satellite flare

MetOp-A satellite streaks on the left

Launched in 2006, MetOp-A is the first European operational meteorological satellite, which is in a polar orbit. It currently serves as the backup of the MetOp-B that was launched in 2012. They also exhibit flares, although relatively less frequent and dimmer compared to the Iridium fleet.

This photo is a first for me in many aspects. It's the first time I did a long-exposure capture of a satellite flare. Previous ones were done in burst shots, then later animated and/or composited. It's also the first time that I used SX50 HS to capture a flare. iPhone 5S is better at burst shots, but not long exposure. Finally, this is the first non-Iridium flare that I caught in a photo.

The satellite moved downward in the northern sky, below the bright Polaris visible on the left side of the photo. If you click on the photo for a larger version, you can see most of the constellation Ursa Minor / Little Dipper covering the top part.

Considering the light pollution, this observation suggests that the satellite needs to be at least -1.0 magnitude at maximum, and be more than 30 degrees above horizon to make a noticeable streak in the photo. I guess that explains why I couldn't catch Tiangong-1 space station on photo several months ago.

Device: Canon SX50 HS
Settings: 45mm - ISO 200 - 15s - f/4.0
Filters: None
Time: 2014-04-08 21:26:38 KST
Location: Suwon, Korea
Max Magnitude: -2.2

Today's "The Toon-Box"

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Constellation Andromeda

Andromeda constellation and galaxy taken by Canon SX50 HS
Andromeda - constellation & galaxy (18% size)

Taking photos of constellations with SX50 HS continues with Andromeda as the target. This one is next to the W-shaped Cassiopeia, so it's easy to spot. With the use of long exposure and filter, the stars making up the constellation nicely shows up in the photo.

Even the faint Andromeda Galaxy can be seen, although it's nothing like the spectacular photos you see in other places. If I were to try to duplicate that sort of feat, I would need to go out of the city and use a star tracker.

Settings: Canon SX50 HS - 48mm - ISO 1600 - 15s - f/4.0
Filters: Baader M&S applied
Time: 2013-12-14 23:51 - 23:57 KST
Location: Suwon, Korea
8 photos stacked with RegiStax 6.1.0.8
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Constellation Boötes

Constellation Boötes taken with Canon SX50 HS
Boötes on the urban sky (17% size)

When I look outside the window of my apartment in the city with a million people, stars are hard to spot. But the camera can see much more than that for me. Of course, the light pollution still prevents seeing really dim stuff, but it does capture what I would be able to see with my naked eyes in a remote place.

To make best use of the situation, I have to point the camera high up. The lower part of the sky simply drowns in ambient lights. The photo of the constellation Boötes here spans altitude from 34 to 56 degrees in the eastern sky. Even after adjusting the curves and levels settings, the sky below 45 degrees simply doesn't get dark enough. Meanwhile, faint stars all the way to magnitude 9 can be found here and there, but only up to magnitude 7 can be spotted consistently.

Settings: Canon SX50 HS - 48mm - ISO 400 - 15s - f/4.0
Time: 2013-12-13 06:07 KST
Location: Suwon, Korea
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