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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!

….

....AUGUST 2018 NIGHT SKY.. AUGUSTO 2018 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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….August is the month most expected by everyone who loves the shooting stars. The Perseids, called locally Tears of Saint Lawrence, are back and around the 12th of the month they are filling our island's skies with their brilliant lights. This year too, the absence of the Moon and the presence of the 4 major planets will make this event even more special, if possible. As a long time tradition, the Antigua's municipality organizes a public and free observation in the Prehispanic village of La Atalayita (information in 928 549653), but you can admire them from all the dark places of the island.

And back to the planets, in the Firmament it's easy to find Venus to the West in the first hours after sunset, while Jupiter shines very high during most of the night. A telescope reveals his dark atmospheric bands and his 4 major satellites, bright dots dancing restlessly around the giant. From the East, Saturn will leave you incredulous when admiring his famous rings, and sometimes also a few of his more than 60 satellites. Mars, the Red Planet, destination of so many exploring missions, is also reaching this area following his apparent retrograde movement.

The Moon accompanies us in the second part of the month. Her mountains, her seas and her craters are all a surprise due to their sharpness and closeness through the telescope, leaving us fascinated every time we admire them.

Clear skies to everybody! ..

Agosto es el mes más esperado por todos los amantes de las estrellas fugaces. Vuelven las Perseidas, las Lágrimas de San Lorenzo, que alrededor del 12 de este mes llenan los cielos de nuestra isla con sus brillantes destellos. Este año, la ausencia de Luna y la presencia de los 4 planetas mayores en el cielo nocturno hará de este evento algo aún más especial. Como ya es tradición, el Ayuntamiento de Antigua organiza una observación pública y gratuita en el Poblado Prehispánico de la Atalayita (información en el 928 549653), pero el espectáculo podrá admirarse desde todos los sitios oscuros de la isla.

Y volviendo a los planetas, en el Firmamento destaca Venus, que se pone bastante pronto en el Oeste, así como Júpiter, que brilla muy alto en el cielo ya a la caída de la noche. El telescopio nos revelará sus bandas atmosféricas oscuras y sus 4 satélites mayores, unos puntos brillantes que danzan incansablemente a su alrededor. Cada vez más alto en el Este, Saturno deja a todo el mundo admirado al contemplar sus anillos, con frecuencia también acompañados por algunos de sus más de 60 satélites. También Marte, el Planeta Rojo destino de tantos programas de exploración, va acercándose a esta zona en su aparente movimiento retrógrado.

La Luna nos acompaña en la segunda mitad del mes. Sus montañas, sus mares y su cráteres nos sorprenden por su nitidez y su aparente cercanía a través del telescopio, dejándonos fascinados cada vez que los admiramos.

¡Cielos despejados para todos! ….

....JULY 2018 NIGHT SKY..JULIO 2018 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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....This Summer season, which is just beginning, is revealed as the great epoch of the planets. Although Venus is setting down earlier and earlier after sunset towards the West, Jupiter, in the constellation of Libra, is very high in the sky when the night arrives. This is the best season to observe him through a telescope: he will reveal the clouds of his high atmosphere, with their darker bands and the Great Red Spot, as well as his 4 major satellites, eternally dancing around him.

From the East, in Sagittarius, a yellow dot indicates the presence of Saturn, who leaves everybody without words while admiring his rings, and it is not rare that some of his more than 60 satellites are visible too. And Mars is now approaching Saturn coming from the Eastern constellation of Capricorn, in his apparent retrograde movement. The rovers Opportunity and Curiosity, have been exploring his surface for many years, and are helping us to understand his mysteries, such as the presence of water below his surface or the presence of methane in his atmosphere.

The Moon will also accompany us in the second part of July. Her mountains, her seas and her craters shine closely through a telescope, fascinating everyone who would contemplate them.

Clear skies to everybody! ..

Este verano que está empezando se anuncia como la gran temporada de los planetas. Si ben Venus se pone cada vez más pronto en el Oeste poco después del ocaso, Júpiter, en la constelación de Libra, está muy alto en el cielo a la caída de la noche. Es la época mejor para observarlo con el telescopio: nos revelará las nubes de la alta atmósfera, con sus bandas oscuras y la Gran Mancha Roja, así como sus 4 satélites mayores, puntos brillantes que danzan eternamente a su alrededor.

Desde el Este, en Sagitario, brilla la luz amarillenta de Saturno, que deja a todo el mundo sin palabra al admirar sus anillos, y no es infrecuente que se vean también algunos de sus más de 60 satélites. Marte, en cambio, se va acercando a Saturno desde Capricornio, en su aparente movimiento retrógrado. Las sondas Opportunity y Curiosity, que están explorando su superficie desde varios años, nos están ayudando a desvelar poco a poco sus misterios, como la presencia de agua bajo la superficie o de metano en la atmósfera.

Y también la Luna nos acompaña en la segunda parte del mes. Sus montañas, sus mares y su cráteres brillan a través del telescopio, dejando fascinados a quienes los contemplen.

¡Cielos despejados para todos! ....


....MAY 2018 NIGHT SKY.. MAYO 2018 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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....From the first hours of the night, the May sky is dominated by 2 brilliant objects: the planet Venus toward the West and the planet Jupiter towards the East. For the lovers of the telescopic observation, the second one, the giant of the Solar System who crosses the constellation of Libra, is more interesting, with his 4 satellites visible as brilliant dots rapidly moving around his equator. If the night is clear, it is not difficult to distinguish also the dark bands of the outer atmosphere of the planet, which hide storms of incredible size, bigger that our Earth. More to the South, the beautiful constellations of Centaurus and Southern Cross are peeping out of the horizon of Fuerteventura: we should not miss the opportunity to admire our neighbor star Alfa Centauri nor the fantastic cluster called Omega Centauri, both visible with naked eyes, but revealing their secrets only through a telescope.

May starts with the Moon just after the full phase, which will be present back by the end of the month. In order to enjoy the observation in her best days, we recommend to wait for the waxing phase, after day 20th in this month.

Clear skies to everybody!  ..

Desde las primeras horas de la noche, el cielo de Mayo está dominado por dos brillantes luceros: el planeta Venus hacia el Oeste y el planeta Júpiter hacia el Este. Para los apasionados de la observación telescópica, es más interesante este segundo objeto, el gigante del Sistema Solar que cruza la constelación de Libra, con sus 4 satélites visibles como puntitos luminosos en rápido movimiento alrededor de su ecuador. Si la noche es clara, no es difícil tampoco distinguir las bandas oscuras de la atmósfera superior del planeta, que esconden tormentas de tamaño colosal, más grandes que nuestra Tierra.  Mirando en el cielo más al Sur, las bonitas constelaciones de la Cruz del Sur y del Centauro se asoman al horizonte de Fuerteventura: no debemos perder la oportunidad de admirar nuestra estrella vecina Alfa Centauri ni el maravilloso cúmulo llamado Omega Centauri, ambos visibles a simple vista, pero cuyos secretos sólo están al alcance de un telescopio.

La Luna empieza Mayo justo después de la fase de plenitud, que vuelve también en la última semana. Para disfrutar mejor de su observación, es recomendable esperar a la fase creciente, que este mes se da pasado el día 20.

¡Cielos despejados para todos!....

....APRIL 2018 NIGHT SKY.. ABRIL 2018 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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....In April, Spring is back in plentitude: the daylight saving is now in progress and the days are longer, as well as the sweeter temperatures that invite us to enjoy the night sky. The great constellations of the winter, such as Orion and Taurus, are still high in the night sky, but they set down earlier and earlier towards the West, leaving the protagonism in the South to the big ship Argo, which carried the hero Jason and his crew in the known Greek myth. This huge constellation of ancient origin, now divided into 4 parts, is marked by the brilliant star Canopus, the second brightest of the sky, not visible from continental Europe. 

In the zodiacal zone, together with Leo high in the East, the nice Virgo brings back the myths related to Spring and the goddess Ceres, ancient patron of agriculture. In the following constellation, Libra, we find the king of the planets, Jupiter, who is finally back and fascinates us with his satellites and dark bands that a good telescope is able to reveal.

And, of course, the Moon is faithfully shining in the first days of April in her full phase, which will repeat by the end of the month. But if you love her, we recommend to observe her around the First Quarter, at the beginning of the last week. 

Clear skies to everybody!  ..

En Abril ya estamos de lleno en la primavera: ya ha entrado el horario de verano y los días se alargan, al mismo tiempo que las temperaturas más suaves invitan a disfrutar del cielo nocturno. Las grandes constelaciones de la estación invernal, como Orión o Tauro, siguen altas en el cielo, pero se ponen cada día más pronto en el Oeste, dejando el protagonismo en el Sur al navío Argo, que transportó el héroe Jasón y a sus compañeros en el famoso mito griego. Esta gran constelación de orígenes muy antiguos, ahora dividida en 4 partes, alberga a la brillante estrella Canopo, la segunda más luminosa del cielo, no visible desde la Europa continental.

En la zona zodiacal, con el León ya alto en el Este, la hermosa Virgo nos trae de vuelta los mitos griegos relacionados con la primavera y la diosa Ceres, antigua patrona de la agricultura. 

En la constelación que la sigue, Libra, ya se asoma el rey de los planetas, Júpiter, que nos fascina con sus satélites y sus bandas, que un buen telescopio pone a nuestro alcance.

Y la Luna no falta a su cita mensual, empezando abril con la fase de plenitud, que vuelve también en la última semana. Pero para observarla con más detalles, es recomendable la fase creciente, que este mes corresponde a la última semana.

¡Cielos despejados para todos!....

....NOVEMBER 2017 NIGHT SKY.. NOVEMBRE 2017 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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Being already over the Daylight Saving time, November allows us to enjoy the night sky without  sacrificing our sleeping hours. In the first week of this month, the Moon is the protagonist with her full phase on the 4th day. Even with the naked eyes, we can distinguish darker areas (the 'seas') surrounded by clearer and whiter ones. A telescope can reveal ranges of mountains crossing her surface, craters of all sizes, islands in the middle of the seas and many other details that leave us astonished. A wonderful sight that nobody should miss!

As the big planets are not visible in this epoch, in the Autumn sky the beautiful constellations raising from the East draw our attention, being preceded by the bright cluster of the Pleyades. The Greek mythology tells us these seven sisters asked to be transformed into stars in order to escape from the giant Orion. In the Milky Way area nearby, Auriga (the 'big-driver') proposes his far but bright open cluster, as well as Taurus showing us his treasures, such as the Hyades, surrounding the brilliant yellowish star Aldebaran, marking the bull's eye.

Clear skies to everybody!  ..

Con la vuelta al horario de invierno, el mes de noviembre nos permite disfrutar  del cielo nocturno sin renunciar al sueño. En las primera semana del mes, la protagonista es la la Luna, que alcanza la fase de plenitud el día 4. Ya a simple vista se nota que en su superficie hay zonas más oscuras (los 'mares') y otras más claras y brillantes. El telescopio nos revela las cadenas de montañas que la surcan, así como cráteres de todos los tamaños, islas en el medio de los mares y un sinfín de detalles que nos dejan boquiabiertos. Un espectáculo que nadie debería perderse.

Ante la ausencia de los grandes planetas, en el cielo del otoño llaman la atención las bonitas constelaciones que están apareciendo en el horizonte Este, anunciadas por el brillante cúmulo de la Pléiades. La mitología griega cuenta que estas siete hermanas pidieron ser transformadas en estrellas para escapar al gigante Orión. En la cercana zona de la Vía Láctea, Auriga (el 'Cochero') nos trae sus bonitos y lejanos cúmulos abiertos, así como Tauro, que no quiere ser menos, nos propone tesoros como las Híades, que hacen de corona a la inconfundible estrella amarillenta Aldebaran, que marca el ojo del Toro.

¡Cielos despejados para todo! ....

 

....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! ....

 

....JUNE 2017 NIGHT SKY.. JUNIO 2017 CIELO NOCTURNO ....

.... With the solstice of June 21th, a new summer begins, a very promising epoch for the observation of the night sky. The firmament is dominated this year by the brilliant planet Jupiter, which through a telescope reveals the secrets of his atmosphere and the tireless dance of his satellites. The most typical constellations of this period, are the Lion and the Virgin, already very high when the night comes in, leaving the East for the beautiful view of Scorpio, so rich in astronomical treasures, or the mythical Hercules, with his fantastic cluster M13.

The Moon accompanies us in the first part of the month. A telescope can easily reveal her mountains and carters, her seas and highlands. Do not miss this incredible view which can fascinate everyone.

Clear skies to everybody!  .. Con el solsticio de junio, que este año cae el día 21, empieza el verano, época muy adecuada para la observación del cielo nocturno. El firmamento está dominado por el brillante planeta Júpiter, que al telescopio nos desvela los rasgos de su atmósfera y el baile incansable de sus satélites. Las constelaciones más típicas de este período, como el León o Virgo, ya están bien altas cuando aparece la noche, dejando el paso en el Este al maravilloso Escorpión, tan rico en tesoros astronómicos, o al mítico Hércules, con su fantástico cúmulo M13.

La Luna nos acompaña en la primera parte del mes. El telescopio nos desvela sus montañas y sus cráteres, sus mares y sus Tierras Altas. No se pierdan este espectáculo tan asombroso que no deja indiferente a nadie.

¡Cielos despejados para todo! ....

....MAY 2017 NIGHT SKY.. MAYO 2017 CIELO NOCTURNO ....

....With the arrival of May, we are in the heart of Spring, with kinder temperatures, that invite us to enjoy the beauty of the night sky. Many constellations, which accompanied us in the last half of the year, are now saying goodbye till the next Winter, while from the East the ones which mark the new season are appearing: the faint and weak crab Cancer, the powerful Lion and the terrible monster Hydra, witnesses of the challenges of the mythical hero Hercules, as well as the beautiful Virgin, related to the calendar of the agricultural activities.

In this area, a brilliant yellow object draws strongly our attention: it is the planet Jupiter, the mighty King of the Ecliptic, the giant of the Solar System, whose atmospheric bands, actual storms of incredible size, such as his 4 main satellites, can be admired through a small telescope.

As in the previous months, the Moon is the protagonist of the first part of the month. Nobody remains indifferent when looking at her mountains, craters, seas or highlands. It is difficult to believe we are able to distinguish so many details of her surface, in spite of the enormous distance which separates her from our Earth.

Clear skies to everybody!  ..

Con el mes de mayo, ya ha llegado el corazón de la primavera, trayéndonos  temperaturas más suaves que invitan a disfrutar del cielo nocturno. Mientras vamos despidiendo  las constelaciones que nos acompañaron en el invierno, desde el Este se levantan las que marcan la nueva estación: el pequeño y débil cangrejo Cáncer, el majestuoso León y el terrible monstruo Hydra, testigos de las empresas del mítico héroe Hércules, así como la bonita Virgo, protagonista del calendario de  las actividades agrícolas.

En esta zona, nos llama prepotentemente la atención un objeto amarillento muy brillante: es el planeta Júpiter, el majestuoso Rey de la Eclíptica, el gigante del Sistema Solar, cuyas bandas atmosféricas, autenticas tormentas de dimensiones descomunales, así como sus 4 satélites principales, pueden ser admirados por medio de un pequeño telescopio.

Como en los meses anteriores, la Luna es la protagonista de la primera parte del mes. Nadie permanece indiferente a la visión de sus montañas y sus cráteres, sus mares y sus Tierras Altas. Resulta difícil de creer como lleguemos a ver tantos detalles de su superficie, a pesar de la enorme distancia que nos separa.

¡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