It’s not often these days that I manage a break under dark skies for astrophotography. Combination of work, volunteering at the Perth Observatory and my astrophotography small business persuits leaves little time! On the weekend of 23, 24 and 25th January I did return to a favourite wheatbelt stomping ground of mine. Here’s some photo’s from the weekend under the stars.
Wheatbelt Sunset on the 23rd January 2015. A typical sunset scene over the flat wheatbelt with the crescent moon and Venus both visible along with a lone silhouetted tree.
The first night was quite clear, although with mixed atmospheric conditions including some light cloud. Sunset was typical for the whetabelt – clear and golden with hue’s of blue high in the sky. This makes for beautiful silhouette photography. The crescent moon was stunning, watching it set low on the west horizon later in the evening was a highlight.
Eta Carina, Southern Cross, Coalsack and Pointers with nice variation in sky colour due to the atmospheric conditions on the night. Green skygow is visible above the brown “murk” affecting the area near the horizon. The Eta Carina nebula is showing nicely bright and pink in the upper left.
The constellation of Orion high in the northern sky with the Milky Way extending down to the horizon on the right, Pleiades below, and if you squint hard enough a hint of Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy low on the left in the “murk” (it looks much like a star, it’s tail hidden by the poor atmospheric conditions that low to the horizon).
A simple and typical but nice sunset panoramic over the wheatbelt.
The second night was partly cloudy, as the above sunset photograph shows. This is not all bad for astronomy, the clouds passing in front of background stars and Milky Way can make for great wide-field photographs and timelapse sequences. On this particular night the wind also kicked up at about 11pm which made the conditions unpleasant enough to call it a night at that stage. Plenty of good astrophoto’s captured in the first few hours though.
A very picturesque representation of clouds flying overhead, lit by the thin crescent moon and fading twilight. Sitting back listening to some favourite music while watching the twilight end. It’s hard to beat.
The most striking thing about this photograph is the green sky, caused by an astmospheric effect these days referred to as “skyglow”. The photo features Jupiter and the open cluster known as the Beehive Cluster, which is in the constellation of Cancer.