Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another Night in the Cold

Okay, I promise this is the last set of night sky photos...for a while.

I scoped out viewing locations on the golf course last night while walking the dog. The spots I thought would be good, weren't so hot, and I ended up in a very easily accessed spot, on a bit of a slope, with great views of Santanoni Mountain.

When 8:30 rolled around, I loaded up my gear. With my ISO set at 3200, I was able to take shots no longer than 15 seconds, which cut down immensely on the blurring.

The big dipper was glorious over Santanoni:

The Milkyway is always spectacular:

It was too early for Orion to be up, so I went back home to wait. About 10:30-ish I opened the back door to let the dog out in the yard, and Orion was up enough for me to get this shot:

At 1:30 AM Orion had gained enough altitude that Sirius, the nose of the constellation Canis Major, was visible. But, it was late, I was only up because the dog wanted to go out, and I wasn't about to set up the camera again. Maybe later in the winter when Orion rises earlier and Sirius is visible by 8:00 PM.

In fact, I find winter to be the best time for stargazing. I suspect it is because the atmosphere is clearer - low humidity. I've also read that pollutants are reduced in the winter sky. Whatever the reason, on a clear night in winter the stars are absolutely stunning. It is also the time of year when easily recognizable constellations are visible: Orion, the Dippers (although the Big Dipper is technically an asterism, an easily recognized shape that is part of a larger constellation, in this case Ursa Major), Cassiopeia. The only downside of winter stargazing is the temperature.


  1. Thanks for all these glorious photos of the night sky in this and previous posts. Amazing what a good camera can see that we can't! I hope you have thawed out by now. Speaking of which, I also loved your photo of frost. Even though we have to suffer the cold up here in the north country, we sure do get some benefits, too. Thanks for reminding us.

  2. Oh, I neglected to add to my last comment how I love your new header photo. Speaking of winter's compensations, as I was.

  3. I'm with Woodswalker - beautiful new header photo!