Thursday, 11 January 2018

The Stars Are Coming Out Tonight*


  I said I was "going to map out the constellations and try to get Camera to take longer exposure photographs", and I did!  Well, I managed to do half of it.  Kind of...
  While I couldn't find any way to take a longer-than-30-seconds exposure photo, I did start mapping out the constellations.  And bugger me it's difficult!  I had to brighten the photos even more (and mess around with the contrast, which left the stars surrounded by rectangular pixellated halos), and pore through books, star charts, and the interwebs to make sure I'd got the right stars in the right place.  And even now I'm not sure that I have.  
  Oh, and I also found out that the two non-Orion photos in the previous post are upside down (depending on where you stand and which way you're facing...).

  Anyway, the following are photos I took on 6th January - the last clear night here (it's been overcast, misty, and down right murky ever since).   

The photo on the left is the original,  unadulterated 30 sec exposure shot; the one on the right is after I'd buggered around with the brightness and contrast sliders on Computron.

  Here's Orion over the scary house on the cliff again.  The glow isn't from the scary house though, no, it's from a bloody Nightship stop!  Somehow, I was unaware that Overstrand was serviced by the Nightship.  I didn't think the village entertained enough of the usual sort who'd use such a method of transportation?  Although, it would explain some of the raucousness that goes on outside my bedroom window some nights...


January's northern latitude constellations looking south south-west (the adulterated original photo is on the left)

  The above selection of painstakingly researched constellations is one that I'm not best pleased with.  The reason I'm not pleased is that I think I may have chosen the wrong stars in some of the constellations, but my photos (even after brightening) don't seem to match the "official sources" (probably because of stellar drift and the flat 2D nature of the images compared to the curved 3D nature of the heavens?).  Also, there appears to have been some sort of star name standardisation that began in 2016 which I was not invited to (rude!), so some of the names on my photo may be obsolete (I'd already started naming them based on the names from the Universe book - which was published in 2005 - before I discovered the 2016 standardisation and couldn't be bothered to change them...).
  Anyway, I'm going to take some more photos, and have another (probably several) go at star mapping, so prepare yourselves!
  
  In case you're curious, my research took me as far as the National Geographic poster, The Heavens (small version pictured below); my 2012 Christmas present from SP, Universe, a lovely hardback book from DK; and Wikipedia.


  

* Post title from "Rule the World", Take That's 2007 single from their album Beautiful World, which featured in the film, Stardust.



15 comments:

  1. Good work adjusting the brightness/contrast and mapping the constellations!

    I can personally recommend the Star Walk phone app. Great for locating various objects outside at night. The only downside is that it is a paid app.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, LẌ. And for the Star Walk tip, too. I think I'm going to have to get a new phone before I try and download anything on it - the poor thing is nearly five years old and can barely hold a charge for toffee!

      Delete
  2. Oh, well done, you! I still don't understand half (or more?) of the camera functions and anyway, it's often hard to see a full moon here. Suburbs, dear, lots of light pollution.And sodding sodium lights just down the street to aid speeding drivers hell-bent on running off the causeway and into the mangroves-and-crocodiles.
    I'll get Sporran to magnify this later...
    But you're doing marvellously well.
    There's a chap in Ohio who's an astrophotographer.http://www.galacticimages.com/catalog/index.php

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THank you, Dinah! I'm still in the same boat as you regarding Camera functions - much of it is trial and error, or luck of the draw!
      OVerstrand and the surrounding area doesn't have much in the way of light pollution, but somewhat typically, on of the only sodium lights in the village is almost right outside my house. I have to wander down the High Street to the cliff top and balance Camera on a gate post (because I can't be arsed to get the tripod out) to take these photos.

      P.S. Thanks for the link.
      And P.P.S. Are these photos too small for you? At the risk of teaching egg sucking, they can be clicked for embigulation, or right-clicked and opened in a new window to see actual size.

      Delete
    2. Oh, I almost always have to re-open pics on the computer, not just yours.No problems.

      Delete
  3. Fantastic work on capturing and plotting out these awesome constellations! Thanks for editing the fotos to give us a better view of those stars.

    I hope the Nightship noise doesn't happen too frequently to disturb your sleep. Hopefully, they've done something about the smell. Or at least stocked up on Fabreeze.

    I love the Pleiades! Such a gorgeous cluster! I like to fantasize that they're riding on the shoulder of Taurus on an adventure through the night skies.

    There are many myths about the Pleiades. The Greek ones always tick me off, esp. about Orion chasing them. Leave them alone, ya bastard! I know it's a stupid myth, but I feel happy knowing that as time passes by, the Pleiades will get farther and farther away from the Orion constellation, escaping to freedom as the universe continues to expand.

    My fave Pleiades myth comes from the Blackfoot tribes of Montana, USA and neighboring Alberta, Canada. Once upon a time, there were 7 orphan boys. The villagers shunned them. So they played with each other and made friends with the wolves. When winter came, the orphans were left behind to fend for themselves in the wild. They only had the wolves who hunted food for them, kept them warm, and kept them safe.

    The Great Spirit took pity on the boys and lifted them up to the heavens, where they would live happily and play forever. For their kindness, the Great Spirit made the wolves the chiefs of all the animals and granted them dominion over all creatures of the land, including man. And as punishment for their cruelty to the orphans, the Great Spirit sent the wolves to harass the heartless tribe, to steal their food, to drive away the game, to hound them for all eternity. And every night, the wolves, who were gifted a place in the heavens in the afterlife, would greet their friends and sing out to the boys who played in the night skies. So when you hear a wolf howl in the middle of the night, it's singing out joyfully to his friends, greeting the children playing up in the skies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thank you for sharing the Pleiades myths. I was vaguely aware of the Seven Sisters myth, but not much else. I should really look into the worldwide stories of the stars and constellations.

      The Nightship seems to be an infrequent visitor at the moment. That will probably change come summer, though. Luckily, the stop is far enough away that I don't have to sleep in a gas mask...

      Delete
  4. Would it help if you hopped on Broom for a closer shot?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did contemplate it, but poor Broom is a bit too wobbly for these sort of long exposure shots. It couldn't hold steady for the required 30 seconds so the stars would come out all over the shop!

      Delete
  5. Anonymous12/1/18 08:31

    This is celestial mechanics, so all I can say is "rise your tiny fists like antennae to the sky". I rest my case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am listening to Godspeed You! Black Emperor "Lift your skinny fists like antennas to Heaven" as I type this.
      Thanks for pointing this out, Mago.

      Delete
  6. WOW! as I was reading this the MITM started talking about getting some sort of toy that would explain astronomy to the grandkids! Your pics are gorgeous. Sadly, with light pollution it has become more difficult to actually see our night sky here. Have you checked out this site: http://earthsky.org yet?

    One of the positive sides to power outages here is the ability to see the night again. It is stupendous. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds like you're having the same light pollution problem as Dinahmow, dear Savvy. And did you see LẌ's Star Walk app link? It looks like a good way to show the grandchildren what's out there (on your phones, I would imagine, as I guess the kids aren't old enough to have their own yet? Or are they?)

      Long live the power outage! Well, to street lamps only, as we certainly don't want to be prevented from blogging.

      Delete
  7. Hmmm yes, real witchcraft is hard work, isn't it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which is why I usually try to do as little as possible but give the impression I've done loads!

      Delete

Tickle my fancy, why don't you?