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SGL 2021 Challenge 2 - The cosmos in motion

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The Earth spins on it's axis whilst it orbits the Sun and is in turn orbited by the moon.  Planets wander, comets appear and disappear, one body occludes another.  This challenge is to visually show this motion.  It could be, for instance, with star trails, time lapse animation, a sequence of images taken over several nights .

As always, data must be gathered between 1st March and 31st May.  Good luck!

Please post entries directly into this thread

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Well, someone has to kick this off!

Taken on the night 14th-15th March this is the foreground stack of an image of the aurora and Milkyway over Bjørnafjorden, Western Norway. The stack consists of 3x180 sec of exposure with a Samyang 14mm wide open at f2.8 on a Nikon D600. Didn't really intend to use this as a star trail image but it does have some charm!





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I crunched my way up to Stanage Edge on the 6th to have a go at some Startrails and Millstones. Crunched because the ground was covered in hail stones from the afternoon and the temperature was perishing so it was a good job I had a mince pie and a cream egg to keep me going 😏

Nikon Z6, Nikkor 20mm, tripod, Neewer remote timer, Yongnuo RF603N II ( Fantastic for light painting away from the camera ) and a very expensive light ... a stunning £ 1.99 torch from B & M !

35 x 2 minutes for the stars at f4 and ISO 640 and 9 individual light painted images for the foreground at 15 seconds, f4 and ISO 800.

All processing in Lightroom for a tweak or two and assembled in PS using layers in blend mode lighten and more tweaking. It takes a while to load 44 images as layers in PS !

Around 2 hours to image and even more to process.



Stanage Edge Cirlces and Millstones..jpg

Edited by davew
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Well last night was a lovely clear sky so decided to head up to that not so famous tree to take a photo of the night sky with a friend, after nearly running out of puff many times on the hills up and down we finally made it and set up to enjoy the glory of the dark skies in our area it was so clear that at one point it was mentioned it looks like you could reach out and to the stars i haven't seen it so clear in a while.


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We had our willow tree pollarded in April so I grabbed this quick picture before it sprouts back to life. When stood in the dark you could feel its presence behind you.  About 2hours of 30 second exposures stacked with Sony A7R3 and Sigma 14-24 2.8 lens. Taken 12th April 2021.



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Star trails around the North Celestial Pole. Taken from Bristol city centre, with no light pollution filter. The brightest line is Polaris -- close to the North Celestial Pole, but as this telescope view shows, not directly over it.

* 21 April 2021
* Bristol, UK (Bortle 8 )
* Telescope: Askar FRA400 f/5.6 Quintuplet APO Astrograph
* Camera: ZWO ASI 2600MC-PRO
* Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G (turned off after initial slewing)
* Software: PixInsight, Photoshop, Lightroom
* 180 x 120 seconds
Total integration time: 6 hours
By Lee Pullen

Edited by Lee_P
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I captured the phases of the moon from Waxing Crescent (16 April) to Waxing Gibbous (26 April); the weather did not play ball to get the full moon tonight. I captured them on my 8" Dob at prime focus using a Nikon D3200 (iso and exposures varied on the phases). I combined single frames as a gif animation to show the movement of the earth's shadow across the moon.


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This is an image that was never meant to be. It started out as a Day to Night timelapse but I managed to get a vital setting wrong ! It was an error that left me high and dry after almost 4 hours. After demolishing a plain chocolate Bounty and 2 Eccles cakes it occurred to me to light paint the wall and hope for the best ... and that's how I ended up making a star trail image with all the wrong settings for both the sky and walls 🤨

Nikon Z6  20mm f1.8 Nikkor lens.  227 x 5 second exposures for the sky and 6 x 10 second exposures for the wall and all processed in Lightroom and PS. 

It does at least show the Cosmos in motion as seen by the trailing stars, the moon moving across the scene and lighting up the far trees and the rise and fall of a man's stately abode. 


Errwood Hall Star Trails-4.jpg

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Earth’s Orbital Motion around the Sun

A ‘Sidereal Day’ is the time taken by the earth to rotate on its axis relative to the stars, and is almost four minutes shorter than the solar day because of the earth's orbital motion around the Sun.  A celestial object therefore reaches the same position in the night sky earlier each day.

This can be seen in the attached composite of 3 images of the rising spring Milky Way in the south eastern sky in March, April and May. Each taken earlier and earlier in the night, yet the Scutum Star Cloud is in approximately the same position.  See images for date and times.

(Times are a bit approximate as its not set correctly on my camera and there was the matter of GMT -> BST!  Have also attached a rotated version for clearer viewing..?)


Cheers, Paul.


Trio rot.jpg

Edited by clarkpm4242
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Here's a short timelapse, or rather collection of three timelapses taken this April. It's been hard to get out the last few months for obvious reasons but the mid-April partial 'reopening' had me heading out to my favourite haunt of Budleigh Salterton for a timelapse or two. I got another from Mevagissey in Cornwall when the family had a short break there. April is a great time of year for the rising Milky Way and the coast down here tends eastwards so the skies are dark....if you can stay up late/get up early. The core of the Milky Way isn't at it's highest until about 4am in April.  It takes a shocking amount of food and drink to keep me awake at that time of night but I managed.. :)

The eagle-eyed amongst you may spot the dropped frame on two of the timelapses, not sure what happened there!

It crosses my mind that all the motion visible in the timelapses is actually a result of the Earths rotation rather than anything celestial but there are a couple of satellites visible in the timelapses, I'll have to hope that counts :) 

The timelapses were taken with a Canon 6D and an R6 using two lenses, a 14mm Sigma (25 sec exposures) and a 28mm Sigma lens (15 sec exposures). In hindsight 15 seconds is slightly too long for the 28mm lens, it opens to f/1.4 so I suspect 12-13 seconds would have been better, and still enough to get that light in.



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After I had run the rudimentary all sky cam on the 04-05 May and reviewed the data I thought ooo that's SpaceX as the camera has not captured the ISS before anywhere near this bright and shortly later a Starlink train turned up. Searching revealed that SpaceX had been delayed and didn't launch that night after all, but not sure that is the ISS instead as it was soo bright and it was not a plane coming in for landing as the orientation was wrong. ASI462 on a gorilla tripod inside with the supplied 150° lens. The very bright object was 02:34 and 04:11 and Starlink was 03:34 and 03:37, each frame was 25 seconds and the images were resized using a batch process in Irfanview to reduce file size.

The video is 2 am to sunrise, the milky way is visible.



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