Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Starry Starry Nights

The sky has not been super clear here on Bonaire, but I've been out looking at the stars anyway, since the moon isn't around. It is surprising what sort of detail the camera can pick out of less than perfect viewing conditions.
Back on June 20, I posted a couple pictures of the Southern Cross. The above picture is a wide angle shot of the Southern Cross and some of the stars of Centaurus. I drew some faint lines to outline the SC in the lower middle of the picture. Note the round dark area that starts at the lower left side of the SC. It's known as the Coal Sack.

I also drew a line between Alpha and Beta Centaurus, on the left side of the picture, and a line from Beta Centaurus up to the giant globular cluster, Omega Centauri, located in the upper middle of the picture. I was surprised to see how bright Omega Centauri turned out in the picture.
Here we see the milky way from Saggita, at the lower left corner of the picture, to M16 and M17, up at the top right corner of the picture. I outlined Saggita, Aquila, and drew a box around "the coathanger", all towards the bottom left corner of the picture, but you'll have to click on the picture and make it bigger to see them well. I'm again amazed at how easy the coathanger is to see in this wide angle picture. You can detect it as a faint fuzz with the naked eye, but this shot with a 28mm lens resolves it quite nicely, even though it is in the corner of the frame and the stars are a little distorted. Actually I'm pretty happy with the quality of the corners, considering that the lens was set at F2.8, but I may try F4 next time around.

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