Thursday, January 18, 2018

day 3: astrophotography at sequoia

Okay, I am NOT an astrophotographer, but it was something I had always wanted to at least try.  We were lodging in the perfect location which has an initiative to minimize light pollution, therefore they have very little outdoor lighting at night.  Most people carry flashlights or headlamps to/fro their lodges to their cars or the dining hall.  

The USA light pollution map is quite interesting.  You will note that the midwest to east coast of the USA has very high amounts of light pollution compared to the the majority of the west.  I would encourage you to click the link to see what I'm talking about.
About 8pm it was pitch dark out and we headed to the same parking lot where we saw the deer the day prior.  As it was our first go at this, we wanted somewhere close and relatively safe.  We bundled up, put on our headlamps and immediately with the naked eye we could easily see the Milky Way.  I don't think I knew what to expect as our visibility in the east coast would be nowhere near this.  The clarity of the sky and the brightness of the stars was just incredible!  We were also upon the month long Orionid meteor shower.  Another little surprise!
SONG: God of Wonders
Note: I've seen astro photos over edited and I was trying to capture it more realistic to what the natural eye sees.  These are edited.

The night prior, we used the SkyView Lite app to see what star constellations would be present at different times of the night.  It's 'live' so you have to check every hour or so to see what's going on above.  We knew Scorpius and Askella were part of the Milky Way and as long as we could see those in the app we knew the Milky Way would be visible.  

We didn't stay out all that long as the landscape was just trees.  Beautiful yes!  AND when you turn your head lamps off and you are standing vulnerable in PURE darkness (like never before), that is the longest 25 seconds of your life.  You literally could not see your hand in front of your face...  Disconcerting I would say.  Joe said, don't worry you will hear the bears nails clicking on the pavement if it comes this way.  HA!  No thanks!

God is one amazing creator.

Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth"...

Isaiah 42:5, "Thus says God, the Lordwho created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it:"

As you will see above, the Milky Way was present.

Image below was straight above us where we captured the Milky Way and a meteor!

The image below is probably my top pick.  With the naked eye we could not see any light pollution, however the photograph makes it quite evident that light pollution was indeed there.  The light pollution we captured (near the lower portion of the tree line, yellow / orange color) we are assuming was from Fresno, California as it was the west of us and has extremely high light pollution according to the map.

No Milky Way present on this side, but just beautiful trees and stars.

Our headlamps were OFF to photograph the sky, but a necessity to check our setup.  AND when you are trying to frame your photo you can see NOTHING in the view finder!  It was really a guess as to what was going to be in the photo.  We even tried using the headlamps as a guide and that didn't work either.

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little eloquent notes... ❤