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....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! ….

....MARCH 2018 NIGHT SKY.. MARZO 2018 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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....March takes us back to Spring time: the days are now longer and the temperature is higher, inviting us to enjoy the firmament. The Winter constellations are still very high in the evening sky; this is the case of Orion and the Great Dog towards the South, while in the zodiacal region Gemini and Taurus dominate the zenith. From the East, Leo is now rising and announcing the great season of the galaxies that we shall enjoy over the next months. Among the most interesting telescopic objects of the month, besides the wonderful nebula M42 in Orion, is an amazing star nursery located in the sword of the mythical sky hunter, a special protagonism is acquired by the many open clusters, as M35 in Gemini and M41 in the Great Dog.

Whilst still awaiting the return of the big planets, the most admired object of the night sky, the Moon, will not miss the date. This month starts with the Full phase, which will come back also by the end of the month. The most favorable moment to admire her craters, her seas and her mountains, with a telescope, reaching us from hundreds of thousands of kilometers away, is the Crescent phase, which in March takes place in the last weeks.

Clear skies to everybody!  ..

Marzo es el mes que nos trae de vuelta a la primavera: los días se hacen más largos y la temperatura es menos rígida, invitando a la contemplación del Firmamento. Las constelaciones del inverno siguen muy altas en el cielo vespertino, destacando Orión y el Can Mayor hacia el Sur, mientras que en la zona zodiacal Gémini y Tauro siguen dominando el cielo del cenit. Ya desde el Este se asoma Leo, anunciando la llegada de la gran temporada de las galaxias que nos espera en los meses venideros. Entre los objetos más interesantes para la observación con telescopio, además de la preciosa Nebulosa M42 en Orión, fulgurante criadero de estrellas localizado en la espada del mítico cazador celeste, hay que destacar lo múltiples cúmulos abiertos, como M35 en Gémini o M41 en el Can Mayor.
Para admirar los grandes planetas habrá que esperar todavía un tiempo, pero no va a faltar a la cita el objeto más admirado de todos: la Luna. El mes empieza con la fase de plenitud, que vuelve también en la última semana. El momento más favorable para disfrutar de sus cráteres, sus mares y sus montañas, que el telescopio nos permite alcanzar desde cientos de miles de kilómetros, es la fase creciente, que en marzo se da en la última decena.

¡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! ....

 

....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! ....

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