Friday, 26 January 2018

Waiting For A Star To Fall


  Well, North Norfolk has enjoyed a few instances of cloudless skies over the past week or so, so I took advantage of the breaks in the weather and took some more photos of the night sky as I threatened to do in the last star-themed post.
  They didn't come out very well, though.  And almost all of them featured that strumpet, Cassiopeia!  I put this down to the aforementioned strumpet being a prominent constellation in the sky at this time of year (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway).  That they didn't come out well is because of the cold and wind.  The cold made me impatient - I was just randomly positioning Camera and taking a photo, and the wind made me a bit wobbly (as did the cold).
  Anyway, below are some of my trials and experiments - Remember to click to embigulate:


  Above is a star-labelled photo from 3rd January.  As you can see, it includes stars from the constellations Perseus, Andromeda, Triangulum, and the Pleiades Cluster from Taurus.  I don't really like it as the constellations aren't immediately obvious.



  In this one, I've marked out the constellations, but each one is a bit of a mish-mash of linking lines as I was looking at several different sources to work them out.  I would have thought the main stars of each constellation would be the same, no matter the source, but apparently not.  Also, the linking lines I've used are too bright - they're detracting from the stars themselves.

  This photo was taken from Carr Lane on the 15th January.  That's not a comet or shooting star, but car headlights and the glow from house windows.  I gave up on mapping the constellations as there wasn't a whole one in the photo.

  This series is from 16th January.  The original photo is on the top left, with a brightened version top right.  Below left is an even further brightened version with the constellations marked out next to it. And below those, a different set of constellations with some of their stars noted.




  After these somewhat haphazard and rushed "balance Camera on a gate post for thirty seconds" point-and-click shots, and their often disappointing results, I dragged the tripod out from under my chest of drawers (where it had been languishing since I got it nearly two years ago) and resolved to use it at the next opportunity.

  That opportunity came on the 19th with another clear evening sky, so I nipped behind the house and gardens of Chateau DeVice to the clifftop and took a series of calculated photos:

Do not adjust your set.  This is how the photos come out - a sea of black with a few faint pin-pricks of light.

After a bit of judicious fiddling with contrast and brightness, this is the result.

Dark grey star linking lines let the stars shine while demarcating the constellations.

And finally, labelling in Microgramma Medium Extended (pale grey for the alpha stars, medium grey for the betas and other stars of note, and dark grey for the constellation names) gives a clean, vaguely futuristic look (to my eyes, anyway).

::

  The above four images are just a taster of what's to come in my next star-themed post(s).  As I was so pleased with how they came out, and how the new labelling looks, I immediately set to planning my next late-night or early-morning jaunt(s).  You have been warned!
 
::



  Strumpets! The lot of them.

18 comments:

  1. I feel like I'm back in our schools planetarium. I did pat attention too, even thought the football jock sat next to me in the dark. I'll leave it there.

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    1. But I'll bet you didn't leave it there (while in the planetarium) did you? And neither did the jock?!

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  2. Stars and Strumpets - each fab in their own special way... Jx

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    1. You're right, there. While I would like to see a group of stars perform a complicated dance routine, I think their heat output would melt their polyester bikinis.

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  3. Nice camera work and charts!

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  4. I hope you're not being rude about my daughter, Kassy O Peea Chablis?
    I do love that song but won't tell you my association for it this time!
    Once again I did leave a comment on your last post but it vanished! - Sulk -

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    1. It doesn't when I do this!

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    2. Perhaps I've got her wrong? After all, she's upside down most of the time, so there's no way anyone can see up her dress!

      As for your missing comment: I found it and released it from the cheap processed meat smelling spam folder. After that last spate of your comments ending up in there, I kept checking it daily, but after a week or so of successful commenting, I didn't bother any more, and that one slipped through the cracks. Looks like I'll have to keep checking.
      I wonder why it's only your comments that get spammed? Do you leave them using different devices (none related to me, I hope)?

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    3. No just one. Sweet of you to look in the larder for me on a daily basis!
      I like spam actually...

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    4. Why am I not surprised...?

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  5. I need to find a COMPREHENSIBLE site for my hemisphere...probably also need to move somewhere way out of town!

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    1. I'd love to be able to help, but I have the same problem. The websites I've found are either far too basic - referring to the constellations in isolation with crude illustrations - or far too complicated with all this "right ascension" and "declination" crap that means nothing if one isn't Jodie Foster in Contact or sitting in an observatory.
      We need some sort of star/constellation 'road map' so that when we've found Orion and want to know what those stars are at his feet, but Orion's at the bottom of the page, the map instructs us to go to page 10 (where we'll discover that those stars are Lepus). Or, some sort of scrolling option as we'll be looking online, I suppose?
      I did find something along those lines at nvastro.com (a Night Vision Planetarium) but Computron's security force destroyed the download because they said it had a virus or something. To be honest, I think they're a little over-zealous, but I was too scared to override them. I can't believe I'm intimidated by my own security team!

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    2. P.S. Perhaps I will turn my photos into some sort of 'road map'?
      Although, they'll be almost no use to you what with being in the opposite hemisphere...

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  6. I laughed out with joy upon spotting Omicron Persei! I immediately thought of Lrrr: "People of Earth! I am Lrrr, ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8!"

    Awesome fotos! Thanks for editing them to show the stars and constellations better. That's exactly what the scientists at NASA and other astronomers do--edit the fotos to make the celestial objects clearer to the human eye. That edited third foto from the bottom which shows the stars clearly is absolutely gorgeous and wondrous!
    Fantastic job!

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    1. Ha! Me, too! Finding Lrrr's home star had me grinning like a loon for days - in fact, I still am!
      I noticed a few other stars that have featured in other sci-fi media, so I might point these out in future maps.

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  7. I am impressed! I count myself lucky to see 3 stars at night these days. Light pollution has ruined our night sky! Thank you for your photos! xoxo

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    1. You're welcome, Savvy! Light pollution is a bloody bugger - I'm sorry you (and Dinahmow, and many other people) are affected by it. There's plenty of it around here too, but as the populated areas of Norfolk are pretty spread out (for now, anyway), one doesn't have to go very far to find a patch of unlit wilderness or farmland.

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