A Snapshot of the Sky

Hi All,

Its been a good few weeks since my last post, but I’ve had the pleasure of a week in North Wales recently (more of that next post).  The first night we arrived, I couldn’t help but be gobsmacked at the quality of the night sky. Being (literally) miles away from the nearest major town means that the stargazing was excellent.

For this shot, I used the 35mm f1.8 on my D40 and set up on a tripod. I’d set infinity focus by initially focusing on the moon. The viewfinder on the D40 isn’t especially bright and, because I ware glasses I struggled to see what I was aiming for – In the end I guessed and pointed at a bit of sky that looked interesting.

What I managed to capture was a good chunk of Ursa Major (The Great Bear) – Initially I was a tad let down by the jpg as reviewed on the back of the camera, I’d thought that a 30 second exposure at f1.8 would have been enough.

When inspecting the RAW file on my laptop though – the image came to LIFE!

When I pushed the RAW file to its absolute limits I could see hundreds of stars! The image above is a reasonable stand off between the number of stars and image quality.

I did a quick search on wikipedia for Ursa Major and I’ve an annotated copy of the above image, with the names of the stars in the constellation.

This also gives a better Idea of the layout of the constellation and its alignment in the sky. I also think its a nice touch to be able to give names to the stars you can see.

I think I’m definatly going to be a “dark sky tourist” in the future 🙂

thanks

Gary

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