Jupiter & Saturn (Terrible) Close-Ups

You have probably heard about the “Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn this coming Monday (21st December 2020). This is where they align in our line of sight with them making it look like they merge. Some people are of course calling it the Christmas or Bethlehem Star. Rather than me write all about this great event, Space.com have a great guide on their website which you can read HERE.

I do have a shoot planned and I will be scouting the location tomorrow, but of course, we are going to need some clear skies which have been quite unusually rare here in the Algarve in recent weeks. Tonight, however, was a very clear night and Jupiter and Saturn are already quite close. So I thought I’d grab my 500mm f/4, throw on a 2x converter to take it to 1000mm f/8 and point it. I wasn’t expecting great results, these planets are a long way away remember! However, it was great to actually see the not only 4 of the large moons of Jupiter but also the rings visible on Saturn.

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ISS Directly Overhead Tonight

After all the recent storms, it was great to be outside at night and a pass be the International Space Station was a good excuse to set the camera up. It was a very bright viewing as it was directly overhead, however, this made it tough to frame it from the house but here is a long exposure, actually 4 long exposures stitched together to give a trail as it cross the sky at almost 8 kilometres per second at a height of around 400 kilometres.

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Star Trails Above a Forgotten Time

After a very warm and clear spring day I decided to head to a location I spotted a few weeks back for a Star Trail photograph.

It was a very dark location and I setup using my (very bright) Mountain Bike lights. Set the camera’s built-in Intervalometer and then sat and waited for an hour (listening to the sounds of Wild Boar and Tawny Owls) whilst the camera took multiple exposures. One of the exposures I briefly shone the lights on the Well.

The shots have then been merged together. This was originally just a test shoot but the final result is worth sharing with you. Looking closely at the trails, there are small gaps which suggests the Intervalomter was missing a shot which is strange as I’ve not had this issue before and a count of the final number of images doesn’t match the number I expected for an hour-long shoot. Anyway, here is the final image and I look forward to returning for another session.

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Star Trails Above A Forgotten Time
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More Geminids!

It was a last-minute decision to set the camera up tonight (or should I actually say this morning!) and only because I saw quite a few bright slow-moving Meteors streaming across the skies.

As I didn’t have any plans, I decided to just stand in front of the camera for one of the shots. This photo is made up of a selection of photos from the camera taking a 15 sec exposure every 17 seconds for 45 minutes. As you can see, there were plenty of “Shooting Stars” coming across the skies tonight!

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Geminids 2018
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Milky Way Above The Algarve Hills

Last night at 10:45pm I headed north, deeper into the Algarve Hills to one of my favourite locations, an Abandoned Windmill near Fitos.

This was the time that the Galactic Core of the Milky Way would be visible in the sky. On arrival, I soon realised that I wouldn’t be able to get the shot I had hoped. To get the Windmill in frame, I would have to be lower down the hillside than the height of the windmill. Also, the distant bright lights from the Algarve Coastal Holiday resorts would create a glow. However, as I had made the trek, I decided to get some shots and head back.

Although not what I was hoping for, here is the shot I managed.

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Milky Way Above An Abandoned Windmill In the Algarve Hills
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Another Geminids Meteor Shower Photo

Further to my earlier post, here is another photo of the Geminids from last night.

This timeframe was earlier in the evening and is a capture from between 8:07pm and 10:05pm. A shot was taken every 20 seconds with an exposure of 15 seconds. This resulted in 562 photos, 23 of which you can see merged here. One shot is the canvas and another 22 shots with meteors. Yes, before you count, there are 22 meteors in this photo.

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Geminids 2017
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