We went up to Timberline on Mt. Hood on Aug. 6th amidst rumors of the Aurora Borealis being visible very far south. Alas, no northern lights that night (the photo is of the northern sky, of course the mountain could have been in the way, or too much light pollution), but the stars were quite lovely nonetheless. There were quite a few people gathered that night to gaze at the sky. Also, unexpected, were the number of nice telescopes setup for public viewing. The owners of these scopes were very friendly and more than happy to explain the various targets in their equipment. One fellow was even dressed as a wizard. The twelve year old me wanted to look into his telescope, exclaim "My God, it's full of stars!" then slink off into the night mumbling "They should have sent a poet." Perhaps next time.
Despite the lack of northern lights, I did find out how well my little compact handled long exposure. Not to shabby, although after post processing, I realized I should have kept the ISO set to 200 instead of bumping it up to 800 for most of the shots. Now I know and knowing IS half the battle, at least where star-field photography is concerned.
Also, in case you were wondering , the lights on the mountain are two snowcats grooming the runs for the morning (yes, there are still runs open in the middle of the summer). That's Cassiopeia in the lower right.
I think that bright star near the center is Vega. Although, I could be wrong. My amateur astronomy skills could use some improvement. Also this last image is extra big for all your starry wallpaper needs.
So, did anyone catch the aura this past weekend?
See that really bright spot at the top middle? That's our galactic center. Pretty awesome, eh? Despite the mind blowing vastness of space, there is a lot of space stuff (mostly dust) between us and the center of our galaxy. If all that stuff wasn't there, the center would be incredibly bright. You know what's also pretty awesome? This photo was my husband's first attempt at taking a star field photo. Impressive, I know, right? I was too busy enjoying the scenery to muck up my night vision on the attempt myself. I am glad that he decided to go for it and attempt these shots. Excellent work, Andy. :)
Technical Details Aperture Value: f/3.5 Focal Length: 18mm ISO: 400 Shutter Speed Value: 61 sec. Location: Mauna Kea, Hawaii - Sept. 8, 2010