Northern Star Trails

100 x 45 sec, f/4, ISO160
Canon 60D, 18mm
Image date:

This is a seventy-five minute duration star trail image, taken from Cosmic Focus Observatory, looking North. It indicates the apparent motion of the stars around the North Celestial Pole, which is 34º below my Northern horizon.

The view looks towards the light pollution of Sydney, where the sky contrast is permanently bad, hence not a lot of stars were detected. The brightest star trail is Vega, in the constellation of Lyra and the stars towards the right belong to Cygnus. You can see some distant aircraft activity around Sydney Airport, low down on both sides of the photo.

Images like this are achieved by taking a continuous series of exposures and stacking them using one of two similar software packages Starstax or Startrails software. I usually stack them in both packages and then select the best result.

All you need is a tripod, a DSLR camera set to ‘bulb’ and an intervalometer.

It’s been a while since I took a star trail image, so here are a couple of earlier ones:

Southern Star Trails
Taken from Cosmic Focus Observatory.
Star Trails around the North Celestial Pole, which is 34º below my northern horizon.
Taken during a semi-cloudy Macarthur Astronomical Society field night at The Oaks, NSW

◽ Images © Roger Powell ◽

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  1. I like star trail shots. I have an intervalometer for my camera. The camera has no B setting. 😦
    Last night I was out looking at M11 and M23. Saturn cleared from behind a neighbor’s tree and looked really nice. I looked high up for Cygnus and viewed my favorite double Alberio. Nearly broke my neck trying to get into position at the eyepiece. But, it was worth it to see the blue and amber color contrast. I saw Vega but not in the scope. Too high up. This morning was clear and offered Venus with the old Moon crescent just above. Rain in the offing tonight and tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The awkward positions I had to force my ageing body to endure was a factor in my going into astro-photography.

      I took a picture of Albireo a few weeks ago. It didn’t really do it justice. I think double stars are exciting visual objects.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The risk is low but one day serious damage will be done by crashing space junk.

      Interesting link between comet impacts, continental crust formation and periodic motion through spiral arms. We still have a lot to learn.

      Liked by 1 person

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