August 19, 2010

Hawaii Astrophotography Part 2: Mauna Kea

Where to start? While in Hawaii on a family vacation, I was able to go up to Mauna Kea. That's 13,796 feet above sea level and plenty of feet above the clouds. This makes it pretty much THE place for astronomy, since being so high up reduces the amount of atmosphere between you and the stars (less twinkling, more clarity) and being in Hawaii above the clouds means there's essentially NO light pollution. To save space on the blog, my favorites are up here in the gallery. But here are my two favorite star shots from the night. Only wish I could have gotten more!

The Milky Way through Sagittarius and Scorpius
180s f5.6 ISO1600

The Milky Way as it appeared to the naked eye (roughly)
120s f5.6 ISO1600

What did I learn? I wish I had higher ISO levels on my camera to get brighter stars (though more noise, but I'm sure there's a nice happy medium). I wish I had had a star-tracking mount (it would have been ridiculous to bring my telescope mount with me on the plane).

August 16, 2010

Hawaii Astrophotography Part 1: Oahu

Skies in Hawaii are good...IF you get on the beach and look away from the light pollution, as is the case with the third picture here. The first two I caught one morning waking up jet-lagged very early. The pollution was astounding, but I guess that's what you get for living in a city like Waikiki. I probably could have gotten some better pictures by walking on the beach, but a) I was tired and b) I didn't feel like being mugged by a homeless person (no seriously, they have a homeless problem there, somebody was stabbed the week before I got there).

Orion in the AM

Orion running across the sky in the AM,

Mars, Venus, Saturn at the Luau
More pictures here.