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....DECEMBER 2018 NIGHT SKY.. DECEMBRE 2018 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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The month of December is marked by the Winter Solstice, which this year falls on the 21st. This was a very important date in the calendar of the ancient inhabitants of Fuerteventura, the Majos, who – according to the historians – met on the top of their sacred mountain, Tindaya's, in order to witness the sunset, forwarding the return of the rains and of the days with more light hours. And this solstice is also announced in the night sky by the presence of the most significant of the Winter constellations, the giant hunter Orion, which for the Majos was only a part of a bigger asterism called ' the Plough', directly connected to agriculture.

Another very important date of the month, and especially for the ones who love the shooting stars, is around the nights of the 13th and 14th, with the most faithful shower of the year, the Geminids, whose slow meteors can reach the count of 120 per hour in optimal conditions of darkness. The Moon will be in her First Quarter, so will set down early, leaving then a dark sky for the second part of the night.

These days around the center of the month are also the best for the observation of our satellite, which leaves always astonished children of all ages with her seas, her craters and her mountains, which we admire with great detail through a telescope in spite of the great distance.

Clear skies to everybody!

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El mes de diciembre está marcado por el Solsticio de Invierno, que este año cae el día 21. Esta era una fecha muy importante en el calendario de los antiguos pobladores de Fuerteventura, los Majos, que - según nos relatan los historiadores- se reunían en la cumbre de su montaña sagrada, la montaña de Tindaya, para asistir a la puesta del Sol en este día, que marcaba la vuelta de las lluvias y de la época con más horas de luz. El solsticio está anunciado en el cielo de diciembre por la vuelta de la constelación más emblemática del invierno, el gran cazador Orión, que en la interpretación de los Majos formaba parte de un asterismo que llamaban 'el Arado', claramente conectado con el cultivo de los campos.

Otra cita muy señalada de este mes, y especialmente para los apasionados de estrellas fugaces, está en las noches del 13 y 14 de diciembre, con la lluvia más fiable del año, las Gemínidas, con meteoros lentos que sin embargo pueden superar el número de 120 por hora en las mejores condiciones de oscuridad. La Luna estará en el Cuarto Creciente, así que se pondrá pronto dejando el cielo muy oscuro en la segunda parte de la noche. Las fechas centrales del mes serán también las mejores para la observación de nuestro satélite, que siempre deja asombrados a los niños de todas las edades con sus cráteres, sus mares y sus montañas, que admiramos con gran detalle a través del telescopio a pesar de su lejanía.

¡Cielos despejados para todos!

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....OCTOBER 2018 NIGHT SKY.. OCTOBRE CIELO NOCTURNO....

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When October starts, Autumn is already here: the days are shorter and shorter and the nights get longer, making easier to enjoy the night sky in more convenient hours.

The mayor planets, accompanying us from the beginning of Summer, seem not disposed to leave us for the moment: while Venus and Jupiter are well visible but quite low on the Western horizon, Saturn and Mars are quite high towards the South and in a good position for an observation through the telescope. We should not miss the remarkable picture offered by 'The Lord of The Rings', so wonderful that it appears to be unreal.

The most brilliant part of the Milky Way is now slowly disappearing with Sagittarius into the Southern horizon, but another of her arms, Perseus's, is now the protagonist crossing the sky from the East to the zenith through the Summer Triangle, constituted by the stars Vega (in Lyra), Deneb (in the Swan) and Altair (in the Eagle); in this area we should not miss visiting the beautiful double star Albireo, a fascinating view through whatever telescope.

And the Moon will not miss her monthly date, once more in the second decade of the month. Her seas, her craters and her mountains leave us astonished due the wonderful details we can admire through a telescope in spite of the great distance.

Clear skies to everybody!

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Cuando comienza octubre, el otoño ya ha empezado: los días se hacen más cortos y la noches se alargan, propiciando la observación del cielo nocturno en horarios más cómodos.

Los planetas mayores, que nos acompañan desde el principio del verano, se resisten a desparecer: si bien Venus y Júpiter se presentan más bien bajos hacia el horizonte Oeste, tanto Saturno como Marte siguen altos hacia el Sur y siguen en una posición muy favorable para su observación con el telescopio. No debemos perdernos el espectáculo que brinda el 'Señor de los Anillos', tan asombroso que parece casi irreal.

Y mientras que la rama más brillante de la Vía Láctea se va hundiendo con Sagitario poco a poco en el Sur, todavía nos queda por admirar su brazo de Perseo, que cruza el cielo desde el Noreste hasta en cenit, pasando por el característico Triángulo del Verano, que forman las estrellas Vega (en la Lira), Deneb (en el Cisne) y Altair (en el Águila); en esta zona no debemos olvidar visitar a la maravillosa estrella doble Albireo, que nos ofrece un espectáculo fascinante con un telescopio.

Tampoco la Luna falta a su cita mensual, una vez más en la segunda decena del mes. Sus cráteres, sus mares y sus montañas no dejan de asombrarnos por el gran detalle que nos ofrecen con el telescopio a pesar de su lejanía.

¡Cielos despejados para todos!

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....SEPTEMBER 2017 NIGHT SKY.. SEPTEMBRE 2017 CIELO NOCTURNO ....

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....The last Summer month presents a night sky dominated more and more by the Milky Way, towards the South, between the wonderful constellations of Sagittarius and Scorpius. The most brilliant area, corresponding to the kernel of our galaxy, is located in Sagittarius arm, which seems to come out from the ominous constellation and is possibly the most important of all, extending itself to the North till the constellation of the Eagle. In the zenith, crossing the Swan and Cassiopeia, another brilliant arm, Perseus arm, completes the milky arch crossing the whole summer sky.

In the constellation of Ophiuchus, the Snake master, Saturn is drawing our attention with his yellowish light. His rings are in the best position for the observation from our Earth, a memorable view that only a telescope can reveal to us.

The Moon is in the full phase on day 6th, so the first decade of September is not apt for the observation of Deep Sky objects, but is the best moment to visit her craters, seas and peaks, which, in spite of the big distance, a telescope shows us with plenty of detail: an enchanting view which leaves people of all ages astonished!

Clear skies to everybody!  ..

 

El último mes del verano nos presenta un cielo nocturno dominado cada vez más por la Vía Láctea hacia el Sur, entre las magníficas constelaciones de Sagitario y Escorpio. Su zona más brillante, correspondiente al núcleo de nuestra galaxia, se encuentra en el brazo de Sagitario, que parece salir de la homónima constelación y es posiblemente el más importante de todos, prologándose hacia el Norte hasta la constelación del Águila. En el cenit, cruzando el Cisne y Cassiopea, otro brazo brillante, el de Perseo, completa el arco lechoso que cruza todo el cielo del verano.

En la constelación del Serpentario, Saturno atrae la atención con su brillo amarillento. Sus anillos están en la mejor posición para su observación desde la Tierra, un espectáculo memorable que sólo un telescopio nos permite apreciar.

La Luna presenta la fase de plenitud el día 6, así que la primera decena del mes no es adecuada para la observación del Cielo Profundo, pero sí a visitar los cráteres, los mares y los picos de nuestro satélite, que a pesar de la distancia, nos revela con un telescopio infinidad de detalles de su superficie, un espectáculo que no deja de asombrar a los observadores de todas las edades.

¡Cielos despejados para todo! ....

 

CONVERSATION WITH ANDY, CARLY AND MARISA

I had a great email conversation with photography enthusiast Andy Bailey the other week that i had to share his questions with our resident photographer Carly Higgins and here were our  answers: 

MARISA AND ANDY

I sell a lot of full spectrum cameras to astrophotographers but I have never been able to use one here in the uk due to light pollution. 

1) would I need to use a full spectrum camera or would a unmodified one be ok?

2) where is the closest point to corralejo where I could capture the Milky Way.  Could I achieve this in a single image or would I need to stack several shots?

3) I understand that at around 28mm I could use a maximum exposure of around 30 seconds. Does that sound right?

Could you advise what settings you would use?

I have various compact, bridge and dslr camera to choose from but would like to carry something practical and as cheap as possible. 

Hi Andy

You don't have to use a full spectrum camera. Most of our photos are taken with dslr's. As a collective we own full frame Canon body's and 3/4sensor bodies. Our previous photographer and the founder are Nikon lovers. As you can see from our website: www.starsbynight.es and Instagram account: instagram.com/starsbynightfv/ you can still produce amazing photos with basic equipment. 

We are very lucky in Fuerteventura that you don't have to go too far out to see the milky way or to see stars at night. We do observations just 5mins away from the RIU hotel near the dunes which is about 10min drive from the centre of Corralejo. You won't really see the Milky way in April. From July onwards we have a good view but September/October are the best months to see it with with the naked eye. Yes, you can take a photo of this in a single image. 

As for your 28mm lens... well that depends if its a full frame, APSC or Micro4/3  camera, what fstop of your lens ( this will change the light qualities depending on what sensor size you have)? What iso? as a general rule and depending on what you are shooting - be it milky way or stars in general, or light/star trails  you would be looking at anything from minimum of 20sec-30secs for a night photo ( depending on what you are photographing). 

If you are specifically looking at taking night time photos i  would recommend bringing a dslr with the widest and brightest lens you have. If this is not what you have then a good start would be something with a lens that is f4 and/or brighter (f2.8, f2, f1.8, f1.2 - are nice to play with). Yet you can still take a good quality photo with even a standard 18-55 kit lens if its only milky way that you want to shoot. 

 

CARLY AND ANDY

"Have you ever tried using a Ricoh theta S fir astrophography"

No I have never tried 360 degree photography

"The Milky Way is the object that I wanted to try and capture. I have several apps on my phone to help track it. I guess planets and nebulas would potential need longer exposures and equatorial mount. " 

You can capture images of the planets (looking like stars) using only a DSLR and actually as some are very bright you don't need a long exposure, but If you are looking to take more deep space images yes you would need a very long exposure so an equatorial mount or tracker of some kind would be essential.

"This is the style of photo I'd like to achieve. Astroscape!  Is the following a series of images (foreground / background) or still just the one?"( see above picture for reference)

This is all one image in camera, where possible I prefer to do this and reduce processing time

"If it's easy to explain how would you achieve the above image? "

This image is just a single exposure of 15s at f/2.8 and ISO 2000 and would be very easy for even a beginner to take, its the kind of image we will learn to take on workshops. It was a beautiful clear night and the milky way was clearly visible to the naked eye. There is of course a little post processing in Photoshop

"Finally one last question, assuming there was a clear sky with no foreground subject like the windmill, how would you advise achieving the image of the Milky Way like it is in the image above (assuming I was using an APS C with kit lens)"

You would need to use your widest angle lens to get as much of the sky in as possible, if you have a kit lens I am guessing something like 18-55mm which on a crop sensor is equivalent to 27mm on full frame - not massive wide but definitely workable. You also want to use the lowest aperture possible f/2.8 or below if you have it. Using the 500 hundred rule (something else we teach on the workshop) you can workout how long an exposure (shutter speed) you can have without starting to get star trails. For 27mm I would recommend no more than 18 seconds. You will then need to adjust your ISO to get a properly exposed image balancing it against the other 2 elements of the exposure triangle Aperture and Shutter Speed. It would be really great to have you attend a workshop as I can demonstrate exactly how to capture and image like this and work with you to get exactly what you want.

To note: content has been edited slightly to remove places and dates. 

who is Andy Bailey: INFRAREADYUK & BESTGHOSTHUNTING