Saturday, July 21, 2007

July 11 Milky Way

The skies were clear and dark back on July 11, so I went out to my stargazing spot near Sorobon. Unfortunately, clouds started floating by before I was able to take many pictures.

The picture here is a single five minute exposure at F4 and ISO 400. I think the corner stars are indeed rounder than the pictures I took a week earlier at F2.8 and ISO200. You'll have to click on the picture and make it bigger to see much detail. I made the thumbnail small so that non-star buffs don't have to wait for it to load. It shows some of the same part of the Milky Way (towards the left side of the picture) that has appeared in some of my previous posts, but also includes many more stars farther to the Southwest.

This picture seems very contrasty to me, but I didn't really do that awful much tweaking to it. It may be that the sky was just extra clear that night. I could pretty easily see the Pipe Nebula with my naked eye, which is pretty rare I think. The pipe nebula is the dark shape that looks like a pipe smoker's pipe, or the head of a golf club, a little to the upper left of the middle of the picture. It is made up of interstellar dust that is blocking the visible light from the Milky Way stars behind it. Like the "coal sack" in the Southern Cross, it is known as a dark nebula.

Saturn is shining really brightly at the top middle of the picture. An airplane made the yellow streaks towards the lower right of the picture. I drew in the outline, in black, of part of the Teapot in Sagittarius along the lower left edge of the picture. I also drew in the outline of Scorpius (in faint yellow.) The main stars of Scorpius run from the middle top, just to the right of Saturn, down to a little below the middle of the picture. It looks like the body of a scorpion or maybe a big fishhook.

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