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Orion Nebula And Orion’s Belt

Orion's Belt, Orion Nebula and Hamburg's Light Pollution

Orion’s Belt, Orion Nebula and Hamburg’s Light Pollution

Above you can see a test shot. I randomly shot a photo of the night sky. I don’t like the photo as much as the other one that I uploaded, but it’s still interesting to research about the stars in the image. Someone gave me the tip to upload my night sky photos to Astrometry if I want to know what is in the picture. The site is basically analyzing the image and will show you different tags of the stars, star constellations, planets and so on. Together with the program Stellarium, this is really useful. I am afraid, astrophotography is pretty addicting, not only the part of taking a random photo, but also the fact that you want to research about the stars. It’s been a while since I suffered from the Wikipedia doom loop, but now I am there again.

Anyway, it’s a lot of fun to read about the stars. But now let’s talk about the photo. If you see the bright cluster of stars in the middle, that should be the Orion Nebula according to my research. Above that, you can see three almost aligned stars, that is the Orion’s Belt if I am right, and the stars are called Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka from the left to the right. You can even see the light pollution of Hamburg at the bottom of the image, because I shot in this direction. Talking about Orion Nebula again, it seems that this is a star-forming region, basically a birth place for starts and actually the closest region of massive star formation to Earth. It also seems to be one of the most photographed objects in the night sky, due to the fact that it is visible with the naked eye. Here is a heavy crop of my photo…

Orion Nebula

Orion Nebula, Birth Place of Stars

To be honest, astrophotography is more fun than I thought. You can basically point your camera straight into the night sky if there are no clouds, then you take the shot and start to do the research at home. But I am pretty much afraid that photography could now be the gateway drug to the astronomy hobby. I don’t need another expensive hobby, but with that said, I’d love to use a telescope… but, nope, I better don’t start with another hobby, even if it seems like an interesting idea. I am however amazed that you can at least try it with DSLR equipment. The picture was shot with my Tamron 70-300mm lens at 70mm.

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4 Comments »

  1. Astronomy is interesting. I’d like to kow the names of the stars I see on a clear night. This would be a good place to do that type of photography as there is very little if any light pollution apart from a few neighbours who have outdoor lighting. Mine is solar and not very bright. You would also see a completely different night sky in the southern hemisphere.

    • The whole process of taking the shot is actually easier than I thought, it’s just that my place is a challenge because of the blocked view for horizon shots, and the light pollution or cloudy months. If you think your place is great for it, give it a try!

      What was your lens with the smallest focal length again? If you have one below 50mm or even better close to wide-angle, that should do the trick. My 18-105mm lens with f/3.5 worked fine for the other shot: https://diaryofdennis.com/2016/11/29/from-our-standpoint-in-the-universe/

      If you have a tripod, I don’t remind if you mentioned it, then try manual settings with ISO 3200, f/3.5 or widest aperture of your lens. Then do a 15 seconds exposure (anything above might give you star trails, interesting too, but not good if you want it clear).

      And then use http://nova.astrometry.net/ where you get many details after the photo upload. An analyzed example photo looks like this one, uploaded by another user… http://nova.astrometry.net/user_images/1392430#annotated

      But I also highly suggest Stellarium the program that I mentioned. Took me a while to understand, but it’s really helpful for researching and planning, especially as you can change time and see how the night sky would look like from your GPS position and so. I use this at home to find out what was in the sky when I took the shot. A compass might be useful if you take photos, so that you know the direction for research later on, but Google Maps should do the trick too to plan this 🙂

      Hey, and you have a garden, no annoying city pedestrians that interrupt you to ask what you are doing there with your camera (happened to me this night lol).

      • Thanks for the suggestions. I may give it a try when we get some clear nights. It’s been overcast a lot lately but when it is clear there are so many stars . You really do feel you are just one tiny dot in the universe.

        • I forgot something, but I assume you know it anyway. If your lens has vibration reduction, this must be disabled if your camera is mounted on the tripod, otherwise the shot will be blurry, that feature only works without tripod.

          Yes, in the other shot I uploaded, there is the Andromeda Galaxy visible as a small dot, almost looking like a planet with a ring… imagine that, it’s just a small dot on my image, but it’s a galaxy that probably consists of gazzilions of stars and planets. Thinking of this reminds me that we are really just a very tiny pixel in the universe. To me it seems so impossible that we are alone in this universe. When I shot my photos, I wondered if there is someone on the other side pointing his tech gadget at us to take a photo too and wondering the same 😀

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