Entries tagged as star

Scorpius constellation amidst the Milky Way

Scorpius constellation in the southern sky as seen by iPhone 11 Pro

The local sky had been clear for the past few days and it was a good chance to test the capability of the iPhone 11 Pro's Night Mode as an astrophotography tool. With a tripod, the exposure time in that mode can be extended to 30 seconds, paving the way for some basic long-exposure shots of the night sky.

For my first target, I chose the Scorpius constellation which would be in seen in the south after midnight. If the sky was particularly dark, the Milky Way would appear as the backdrop. Light pollution situation isn't getting any better around here, so the results from my iPhone weren't impressive even though the southern sky was the darkest.

To make the best of it, I took multiple shots, merged them together, and increased the contrast to make the stars stand out as you can see here. You can even find a hint of the Milky Way slightly to the left of the center. The brightest star of the constellation, Antares (Alpha Scorpii), is visible just above the star on the dead center (Tau Scorpii).

Device: iPhone 11 Pro
Settings: 26mm - ISO 5000 - 30s - f/1.8
Filters: None
Time: 2020-05-14 00:48-00:53 Korea Standard Time
Location: Naju, Korea
8 photos processed with Pixelmator Pro
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Today’s “The Toon-Box”

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Annular Solar Eclipse of 2019

My Nikon P1000 was set up on the roof of the Marina Barrage along with other cameras and telescopes

An annular solar eclipse happening on the Boxing Day in Singapore sounded like a great excuse to have a year-end family trip there, so I acted on it. As expected, multiple venues across the city-state provided spots for people to view and photograph the phenomenon. I picked Marina Barrage as it would have longer totality and snacks.

My family arrived nearly two hours before the start, but a lot of equipment were already on the roof. Once our stuff was set up, my daughters saw the Sun through the handheld protective film or binoculars while I took photos in intervals.One thing that concerned me was the weather, as it was supposed to be cloudy with a chance of rain that day. While the sky was mostly clear during the early stages, clouds began to build up as we neared the totality.

Progress of the solar eclipse observed in Singapore on December 26, 2019

The clouds were both a curse and a blessing. It became cumbersome to track and photograph the Sun through the camera on the tripod, since I needed to fiddle with the settings every now and then. But the clouds often became just thick enough for my iPhone to take the ongoing eclipse directly without any filters, letting me get these nice photos you see above. As a result, both the phone and the camera had their share of the action.

Celine was able to see the eclipse in the morning (left) but clouds obscured view in much of the afternoon (right)

The clouds that moved in about half way through the 2 minutes of totality created a breathtaking view - people could see the "ring" of Sun with naked eyes. That was quite an experience. Alas, the clouds blocking the Sun became thicker and more frequent after that, so they became much more annoying in the second half of the eclipse. I was getting a lot more gaps in the interval photos I was taking, so I finished my session about an hour early and went sightseeing around the Marina Bay with my family to much satisfaction.

Device: iPhone 11 Pro
Settings: 52mm - ISO 20-25 - 1/23810-1/564s - f/2.0
Filters: None
Time: 2019-12-26 12:09-14:25 UTC+8
Location: Marina South, Singapore

Today’s “The Toon-Box”

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Partial Solar Eclipse of January 2019

Solar Eclipse of January 6, 2019 seen in 2-minute intervals
Eclipse animated at 10min/sec

Good eclipses come by every few years, with lunar ones somewhat more often than solar ones where I live. The last solar eclipse I photographed was back in 2012, and I missed the one on 2016. As if to make up for that, two occurrences would be visible in 2019, with the first one taking place yesterday and the next one the day after Christmas. A better camera and filter than 7 years ago was set up on a window to capture the phenomenon. Strips of cloud interfered at the beginning, and the adjacent apartment building blocked the view for a few minutes towards the end. But the session went quite well otherwise.

Zooming to 2000mm, I could see the jagged outer edges of the Moon obscuring the Sun. But for the purposes of creating a progressive composite and animation, the extreme zoom turned out to be a bit of a waste as I had to reduce the size to 4% and 8% of the original, respectively. I'll need to consider this the next time I take eclipse photos.

Celine and Hayun take a photo of the solar eclipse

Thanks to the eclipse happening in the early Sunday morning, everyone in the family was able to witness the event together. I let the kids follow the progression of the eclipse though the camera's viewfinder, and they were able to take an eclipse photo as well.

Observing the shape of the Sun with a hole punched on a piece of paper

Alternately, I let them know that the eclipse could also be seen indirectly by using a pinhole. Kids had fun poking holes on pieces of paper to see the crescent shapes shining on a wall. I hope the next observation goes just as well and interesting.

Device: Nikon P1000
Settings: 2000mm - ISO 100 - 1/320s to 1/1250s - f/6.3
Filters: ICE N100000 (Neutral Density 16.5 Stop)
Time: 2019-01-06 08:42-10:30 KST
Location: Naju, Korea

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