Making photographs, not just taking them – Dundee, Tayside, Scotland


Star Trails

Finally a clear sky this week.  I’d been waiting almost a week to try out an idea I’ve had so I was happy enough with a cold frosty night as it gave me the clear sky I needed.

Seeing as I live on the edge of Dundee and only have fields behind my house the sky is much darker than in a town or city making it easy to see the stars.  Because of this I wanted to see if I could get a star trail image from within my own back garden.

The plan then was to set up the camera pointing at the sky and leaving it for, hopefully, an hour or more.  The hopefully is because I had no idea how long the batteries would last being out in the cold.  It turn out to be much longer than expected and even after 1 hour and 40 minutes there was still power left.  But I figured 1 hour 40 minutes worth of 30 second exposures would be enough to see if the plan worked or not.

One thing noticeable is the effect the moon had once it came up, below is the first shot taken before the moon rose and the second is the last when the almost full moon was well and truly out (the temperature really cooled down):

No moon

No moon

Full moon

Full moon

It appears that I also managed to accidentally capture a passing of the ISS (International Space Station) in one exposure, seen in the bottom right hand corner:

ISS in bottom left corner

ISS in bottom left corner

Anyway the final image from stacking the 180 exposures looks like this:

Final image

Final image

What’s the chances I managed to point the camera towards the North Star?  In truth I had no idea where it was pointing but seeing the final image I know it was facing the North Star, because the stars revolve around it creating the circular motion.

Yes the images are a little dark, the shed isn’t very sharply in focus and there are a few other little issues I need to work on, but for a first attempt I am happy with the result and will be giving this another go when I get the opportunity.  Hopefully I’ll manage at least 2 hours next time – watch this space.


One response

  1. Sunny

    This looks great, Craig! Very cool that you caught the movement of the ISS.

    28/02/2013 at 23:03

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