May 6, 2012

The First Flare Amongst Many a Trail

As I wrote a few posts ago, I have recently found a program that lets me take a sequence of photos and combine them to give me nice startrails. Since there have not really been any clear nights recently, I have been going back through my photos to try to find times when I took a bunch of pictures all in a row without moving the camera.

This is one of the results of that search.

Near the center of the frame is the first Iridium Flare I ever managed to take a photo of. Going across the bottom is an aircraft. If you look on the water at the very bottom, you can see red lines all nicely spaced out. Those are the reflections of the aircrafts beacon on the water as it flashed every second or so.

Up near the top left of the photo is Polaris. It is the only star in this photo which does not appear to be streaked.

In the middle of the photo you can actually see the big dipper as well. The tip of the handle is about as far above the aircraft lights as the lights are above the horizon, and it is pretty much directly under the left end of the flare. The cup of the dipper is pointing towards the flare and Polaris. The stars in the big dipper are some of the brighter stars in this photo.

Once the clouds go away I am going to try to get some really good long star trails. I think that it will be possible to find a night where I could catch multiple iridium flares as well as the ISS in the same sequence since all they need to do is pass through the same part of the sky. I can set my camera up to take a photo every few seconds, and let it do that for hours.

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