In the 2 hours of clear skies on Thursday night at IISAC2008 while my main scope and camera was capturing the Horsehead and Flame Nebula
, I setup my 350D with the Sigma 17-70mm lens on a tripod to capture some star trails.
I used the Aputure Timer Remote to program exposures of 5 minutes with a 3-sec delay in-between. The battery was running flat and I could see the clouds coming. When I went over to stop the exposures and take some dark frames, I found that the lens was completely fogged over. Unfortunately both of my dew heater straps were occupied on the imaging telescope and guide scope, and I neglected to think about the camera lens, otherwise I would've used the hairdryer to clear it up.
So 7 of the 9 exposures were pretty much wasted, though it gave an interesting effect when I stacked all the images together using startrails.de. It gave the star trails an interesting look, so I kept them and gave the title Raining Stars at IISAC2008
Here's the image. Click the image in the gallery to see the 1200px wide version.
Raining Stars at IISAC2008
The only processing is stacking followed by minor levels adjustment and noise reduction in Photoshop CS2.
The last of the clear skies presented itself right before dawn on Sunday morning, the last morning of the star party. It had been cloudy and raining on and off all Saturday during the day and night, so when I went to bed, the last thing I expected was for it to clear. But luckily I was woken at about 4:30am by Vincent scrummaging around with his scope which was setup near my tent. I thought he was packing up to go home early and was just about to pull the extra blanket over me and roll over to go back to sleep, when I heard Ian Maclean walking by talking to Vincent about the clear skies. I stuck my head out of the tent to find beautiful, clear dark skies so I jumped out of bed, put the freezer suit on and headed to my trailer.
I'd already packed the scope away, so I just got out the tripod and Canon 350D to take some star trails as the morning light approached - way too quickly! It was becoming light after only 15 minutes and by 5am I had to stop the exposures as the sky was practically bright blue now. My battery ran flat after the first exposure so there's a gap between the first and the next exposures while I changed the battery. I should've recharged it after Thursday night!
Enough rambling, here's the image - Dawn Star Trails at IISAC2008
. Click the image in the gallery for the 1200px wide version.
Dawn Star Trails at IISAC2008
Thanks for looking. More IISAC2008 reports coming soon..
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